The New York Times (3.18.90)

Review/Rock; Creatures On Tour

By Jon Pareles

A sojourn in Spain for two members of Siouxsie and the Banshees -the singer Siouxsie Sioux and the drummer Budgie - turned into a record album, ''The Creatures,'' and now a North American tour. The Creatures are still ''just the two of us,'' as Ms. Sioux said from the stage of the Ritz on Wednesday night.

Well, not quite - they brought along canned music to back themselves up.

The Creatures haven't moved far away from the Banshees' style. While drums, marimbas, castanets and (recorded) horns replace guitars, the songs still revolve around singsong melodies and Ms. Sioux's hallucinatory lyrics, in which visions of decay, desire and bleak interpersonal strife add up to what might be called Pre-Raphaelite punk. Her singing is deadpan and unexaggerated, more often girlish than throaty; as a counterpoint to her words, she dances with mannered, repetitive gestures that aim for a niche between the Rockettes and Pina Bausch.

On stage, the Creatures were like stripped-down, less satisfying Banshees. While the recorded backup governed the pace, robbing the songs of any suspense, Budgie worked out behind a drum kit, a set of Latin percussion or a drum synthesizer and Miss Sioux shimmied or swung her arms as she sang, looking orphaned without a band. The lighting was designed mostly to obscure rather than illuminate the performers, while the sound, despite the fact that it was a mixture of only three sources, was muddy.

Concerts by Siouxsie and the Banshees have used hypnotic ambiguity to cast a spell. But the Creatures, whose music had the possibility of percussive, pointillistic clarity, came up only with eyestrain and murk.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

Back to Articles