Album Review
by Scott Sterling-Wilder

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The Creatures: 'Hai!' (external artwork)
The Creatures: 'Hai!'
The Creatures’ effect on amygdala

During the shortish history of popular music there have been many more artists trapped in the biz-ruts for the best part of their career than the precious few who managed to continually make different, exploratory and interesting records. One we can certainly recommend to anyone is The Creatures’ latest opus, ‘Hai!’. The married couple of the temporarily reformed Siouxsie And The Banshees, singer Siouxsie and drummer Budgie, have had this project for good twenty years and have produced variety of albums that flirted and toyed with plethora of sound assortments.

‘Hai!’ (Japanese for ‘Yes’) is for people who find that there are no places left to visit anywhere without running into busloads of ‘guided’ tourists; when you look around there is no much mystery left around [sure, Islam is cryptic but their Rock is dire!] and Japan remains a favourite target for all those who have been fortunate to intellectually/spiritually/culturally explore other options and find the far-Eastern country a draw for full attention. [It doesn’t matter if you only got into it after the ‘Kill Bill’ flick.]

‘Hai!’ grew out of a Budgie and former Kodo-drummer Leonard Eto’s Tokyo jam session that lasted 90 minutes without a break. [The Ltd Edition of the disc contains a DVD of the session.] These tapes were used months later for editing and forming basis for the new album. While Budgie was mixing, fixing and SFXing, Sioux wrote lyrics for these pieces that are, as usual, way more than mere ‘mouthfuls of air’. Some vocals are minimal, some pensive, some rocky but always with an inquisitive air about ‘em.

These tunes are not bound by the usual song structures and, despite, being edited to a certain length, its peculiar unity comes through sequencing and one feels that there is no other way but the one it is. The lead track, ‘Say Yes!’, takes three-minutes of drumming before Siouxsie comes in with no more than a dozen words. ‘Around The World’ takes the beats further into a tribal zone while the vocal gets truly trippy.

‘Seven Tears’ addresses the sounds of the country behind the title (as later does ‘Further Nearer’) more directly, with quite a furious pace that is balanced and calmed down by vocals that appear like hovering over the rhythm. [Man, this is a good medication!] ‘Godzilla!’ is the poppiest song here [and not a surprising choice for a single] that could be a distant cousin of SATB’s ‘Hong Kong Garden’; ‘Imogoro’ brings industrial and Gothic elements to this aural feast; more dramatic and cyber-cabaretish is ‘Tourniquet’ that evolves into a free-jazz improv without losing direction over its 9-minute duration.

If you can imagine Can and Brian Eno lost in a Japanese garden frequented by Kodo drummers, you not only have exceptional imagination but are informed to appreciate this sonic treasure. ‘Tantara!’ takes you on a final trip to the outer limits that bring tranquillity to this padded cell.


Scott Sterling-Wilder
The Creatures’ album ‘Hai!’ is released 20 October 2003 on Sioux Records/Artful