New Times Los Angeles (4.29.99)


Jeff Niesel

The Creatures

Perhaps even more than Bauhaus and the Cure, the Creatures' Siouxsie Sioux (Susan Dallion) deserves the credit (blame?) for Goth. Some 20 years ago, she started the Banshees and, with her jet-black hair and raccoonlike eyes, became Britain's most notorious ice queen/punk starlet. Her caterwauling vocals, coupled with the band's tribal percussion and swirling tape loops, had an immense impact on the new wave; the guitarists who have passed through the group--the Cure's Robert Smith, Magazine's John McGeoch, Clock DVA's John Carruthers--represent a veritable who's who of Britain's underground heroes. They could (should?) have called it quits with 1981's Juju and left quite a legacy, but Siouxsie and the Banshees trudged on, releasing a number of inconsequential albums in the late '80s and early '90s before dissolving three years ago. Throughout, Sioux' fashion accessories have included both swastikas and Jewish stars and, like a macabre Stevie Nicks, she has dabbled with witch imagery and the occult. It's al rather silly, of course, but Sioux apparently isn't ready to disavow her past yet.

A tour last year with John Cale resuscitated the Creatures, a side project that Sioux and Budgie (Peter Clark, who is now her husband) started in the early '80s. Recorded at their home in Southern France, the recent Anima Animus is the third Creatures' full-length and first on their own label, Sioux Records. Musically, though, it's more of the same. Sioux, who know looks like a pale Liza Minnelli, sings lines like "Plumes of dirt/Caress a urine-colored sun" ("Exterminating Angel") as if they were shocking and does the usual moan/pant/whisper/sing thing on "2nd Floor," "I Was Me," and "Say." She still has a strong voice, and multi-instrumentalist Budgie can still hammer away at the drums, but too much of Anima Animus rehashes the synth-heavy dreck the Banshees churned out near the end of their career. On last year's tour, the group collaborated with Cale on Velvet Underground songs like "Venus in Furs," but expect to hear more of the Creatures' material (and the occasional Marc Bolan cover) this time out. Sioux and Budgie ostensibly pulled the plug on the Banshees to avoid becoming a nostalgia act but, judging by Anima Animus, they would have done well to kill off the Creatures, too. Thu., May 6, at the House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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