Last fall, I mentioned that as the days shorten and weather starts to turn I find myself nostalgically digging for those ol’ Concrete Blonde cds. A while back in my internet travels, I saw that Johnette was releasing a solo album this fall and I thought about how perfect the timing was gonna be. I was gonna be able to get my Concrete Blonde nostalgic fix and listen to some new music…all at the same time. Also. a few weeks back I mentioned that Ms. Siouxsie Sioux was also about to release a solo cd this fall. I did not think too much about this at the time…I was a fringe Siouxsie and the Banshees fan, and didn’t figure I would actually hear the cd any time in the near future. Little did I know that the wife was a big fan and the notion of 24 hours passing after Mantaray’s release without multiple listens was just inconceivable.
Well, the shadows starting getting a little longer the other day, so I decided to go pick up Johnette’s solo disc for a ‘beers on the porch while the dogs play’ listening session. First impression…utter disappointment. Johnette’s voice, so powerful during Concrete Blonde, comes off sounding tired and haggard. The songs lack punch and end up just being boring. I dunno why, but to me it seems that anytime Johnette makes anything outside of the Concrete Blonde envelope, it falls waaaay short of my hopes and expectations, and I end up tossing the cd, despite having wanted nothing more than to like the damned thing. See: Vowel Movement and Pretty & Twisted. It really makes me wonder how big of a role James Mankey played in Concrete Blonde’s writing process. Oh well, I still have Free and Mexican Moon for those fall evenings.
On September 10, I did what a good husband is supposed to do and I spent my lunch hour at the record store picking up Mantaray for
the wench my lovely wife. Over the next few days I got to listen to it….whether I wanted to or not. It played on the living room cd player. It played in the car. If we were together, I was listening to it. Turns out, no matter how much I wanted to dislike this cd (don’t ask why), I couldn’t. I was expecting a lame effort at remaking a glory many years past. What I got was the album I was hoping for from Johnette. Ten tracks of pounding beats, dirty guitars and just enough of a punk spice to the pop to remind you this is still Siouxsie-freaking-Sioux…An album that will find a home in the goth clubs with tracks like “Here Comes That Day,” and will still also be able to take root in the fratboy clubs with tracks like “Into A Swan.” Siouxsie hits a home run with her solo debut. I can’t wait for the remix album!…There BETTER be a remix album!