|Studio album by Siouxsie|
|Released||10 September 2007|
Riverside Studio and Stone Room, Bath, Somerset, UK
|Genre||Alternative rock, electronic, pop|
|Label||Universal (UK), Decca (US)|
|Producer||Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Evans, Charlie Jones|
|Singles from Mantaray|
The album was well received by critics, with praise focused on Siouxsie's voice and the different compositional styles.
After the success of her first solo release, the live DVD Dreamshow, which reached the No. 1 position in the UK chart in August 2005, Siouxsie received demos from several composers. Universal soon offered her a new record deal on the label W14, which was about to be created by John Williams, whom had already previously worked with her for Peepshow and Boomerang. Commenting on the news on her website in July 2006, Siouxsie stated, "At least I didn't have to get someone spray-painting my name on the front of the Universal building"! It was a reference to a famous episode which took place in early 1978 in London when record companies had been tagged one morning with the command, "Sign the Banshees, do it now".
Recording and music
Mantaray was co-produced by Steve Evans (who had previously worked with Robert Plant) and Charlie Jones (who had collaborated with Plant as well as with Goldfrapp). The drums were performed by Clive Deamer, who had previously played with Portishead. Evans and Jones together composed the music for the tracks "About to Happen", "If It Doesn't Kill You", "Sea of Tranquility", "They Follow You" and "Heaven and Alchemy".
Mantaray was the first time that Siouxsie worked with producers who also physically played on the record, which made a "huge difference". Instead of recording the album in one block session, she commuted from France to Bath to the producers' studio. She made several trips from the end of 2006 to May 2007, concentrating on two or three tracks at the time. This working method provided a useful overview, as she stated: "Sometimes when you're so involved in a project day in day out, you can lose sight of the goal or the object. It puts a different discipline to it". She used technology as a tool, listening to the recording process of the music from home.
Release and critical reception
It was released in the UK on 10 September 2007 on W14, a new label within the Universal Music Group. A U.S. release followed on 2 October 2007 on Decca Records. In addition to the standard jewel case and a tri-fold Digipak, Mantaray was also released on vinyl in both countries. The album was preceded by its first single, "Into a Swan", released one week earlier on 3 September 2007. Upon release, Mantaray hit No. 39 in the UK Albums Chart.
Mantaray received positive reviews from music critics. Nitsuh Abebe of Pitchfork wrote, "She really is pop" before finishing the review with the declaration, "It's a success". Concerning the quality of the songs, journalist Charlotte Heathcote noted, "Impressively, there's not a let-down track on the album and a perfectionist attention to detail sees synths, strings, wind and percussion used to creative, compelling effect". Simon Price in The Independent shared the same point of view, stating that "Mantaray is a bracing and beautiful blast of ice". In a review rated 4 stars out of 5, The Times observed that her "steely-toned voice is as beguiling as ever". Simarly, The Telegraph critic Andrew Perry noted, "She sounds imperious, passionate". Q's Gary Mulholland published a positive review and said, "Siouxsie voice is as rich and sensual as ever, and lyrical references to rebirth abound. No wonder; this is easily her best album in 20 years". Uncut wrote, "Fortunately [...] she's still the uncompromising outsider at heart". In a review rated 4 out of 5 stars, Metro commented that the 10 songs of her first solo album "do add further depth to her repertoire". Slant Magazine qualified Mantaray's sound as "distinctly modern", stating that "it's Siouxsie voice—trembling and echoing all at once—that reaffirms the album's urgency". Critic Paul Schrodt said that [the end of the album] "is breathless and bone-chilling".
|1.||"Into a Swan"||Sioux, Kookie1, Brion James||4:13|
|2.||"About to Happen"||Sioux, Noko, Charlie Jones, Steve Evans||2:50|
|3.||"Here Comes That Day"||Sioux, Noko, Kookie, Howard Gray||4:03|
|4.||"Loveless"||Sioux, Kookie, Brion James||4:25|
|5.||"If It Doesn't Kill You"||Sioux, Charlie Jones, Steve Evans||4:32|
|6.||"One Mile Below"||Sioux||3:01|
|7.||"Drone Zone"||Sioux, Steve Hilton||3:22|
|8.||"Sea of Tranquility"||Sioux, Charlie Jones, Steve Evans||5:13|
|9.||"They Follow You"||Sioux, Charlie Jones, Steve Evans, Graham Crabb||5:03|
|10.||"Heaven and Alchemy"||Sioux, Charlie Jones, Steve Evans||4:19|
- Siouxsie Sioux — vocals
- Steve Evans — guitar, programming, ukulele
- Charlie Jones — bass, upright bass, Rhodes piano, synths, piano, autoharp
- Clive Deamer — drums
- Hossam Ramzy — percussion
- Ken Dewar — percussion
- Noko — guitars, keyboards, programming
- Phil Andrews — guitar, keyboards, programming
- Terry Edwards — saxophone, trumpet, flugelhorn
- Ted Benham — hammered dulcimer, xylophone
- Davide Rossi — strings
- Tom Dalgety — engineer
- 1 Kim Hoglund
|UK Albums Chart||39|
|French Albums Chart||132|
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- "Mantaray - review". Metro. 15 September 2007
- Mulholland, Gary. "Mantaray - review". Q. October 2007
- Abebe, Nitsuh. "Mantaray - review". Pitchforkmedia. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2015
- Schrodt, Paul. "Mantaray - review". Slant Magazine. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2015
- Harris, Sophie. "Mantaray - review". The Times (subscription required). 7 September 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2015
- Williamson, Nigel. "Mantaray - review". Uncut. October 2007
- Mackenzie, Wilson. "Mantaray - review". Spin. November 2007. P.125. "She's casting a refreshing new spell".
- Heathcote, Charlotte. "Mantaray - review". Sunday Express. 9 September 2007
- Price, Simon. "Mantaray - review". The Independent. 16 September 2007.
- Perry, Andrew. "Mantaray - review". The Telegraph. 8 September 2007
- "Siouxsie - UK Albums and singles charts". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 24 May 2015
- Mantaray - charts (France). Lescharts.com. Retrieved 3 March 2015