Through the Looking Glass (Siouxsie and the Banshees album)

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Through the Looking Glass
Siouxsie & the Banshees-Through the Looking Glass.jpg
Studio album by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Released 2 March 1987
Recorded August–September 1986
Genre Alternative rock
Length 43:54
Label
Producer
Siouxsie and the Banshees chronology
Tinderbox
(1986)
Through the Looking Glass
(1987)
Peepshow
(1988)
Singles from Through the Looking Glass
  1. "This Wheel's on Fire"
    Released: 5 January 1987
  2. "The Passenger"
    Released: 16 March 1987

Through the Looking Glass is a covers album by English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was co-produced with Mike Hedges and released in March 1987 on Polydor. Through the Looking Glass was preceded by the single "This Wheel's on Fire". It was the second and final album recorded with guitarist John Valentine Carruthers.

History[edit]

The title of the record, Through the Looking Glass, was an ode to Lewis Carroll's book of the same name. The band had already been inspired by Carroll's work when naming their label, Wonderland, which was derived from Alice in Wonderland.[1] The record was also an ode to David Bowie's Pin Ups, a covers album recorded in the early 1970s. After spending more than a year working on 1986's Tinderbox, the Banshees wanted spontaneity, and quickly returned to the studio after the tour, to record their own covers album. It was a project they had been considering since recording a version of The Beatles's "Dear Prudence" in 1983.

For the Looking Glass sessions, which took place in September and October 1986, they chose material mainly dating from the first half of the 1970s, from an era preceding the 1976 formation of their band. Most of the songs were from artists who had influenced them: Roxy Music, John Cale, Iggy Pop, The Doors and Kraftwerk. Producer Mike Hedges, who hadn't worked with them since 1984, was called back. The instrumentation was different; for this album, they hired other instrumentalists including a brass section and a harpist. Musician Martin McCarrick, who became an official member of the Banshees after this album, created string arrangements for several tracks.

The band's version of Iggy Pop song "The Passenger" featured brass arrangements. Pop praised the arrangement, saying: "That's good. She sings it well and she threw a little note in when she sings it, that I wish I had thought of. It kind of improves it [...]. The horn thing is good."[2]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[3]

Through the Looking Glass was released on 2 March 1987 on Polydor. A few weeks after, Bowie contacted them to be the special guests at two shows on his Glass Spider Tour in Anaheim. This album was reissued in a remastered version with bonus tracks in October 2014.[4]

Sounds said: "Trust in Me", "Potentially a single, is quite astonishing. Whereas once it was about a python getting ready to crush a little boy to death, now it's a harp-laden lullaby of rampant, swirling eroticism".[5] Mojo retrospectively praised their version of "Strange Fruit" by selecting it for a 2007 CD called Music Is Love: 15 Tracks That Changed the World Recovered By....[6][7] In a retrospective review, Allmusic hailed the album saying: "The inspired range of covers reaches from glam-era landmarks (Roxy Music's "Sea Breezes", John Cale's "Gun") to Billie Holiday's sorrowful touchstone "Strange Fruit" to, in one of the best such efforts ever (and a year before Hal Willner's Stay Awake project), a Disney classic—namely the slinky "Trust in Me," originally from The Jungle Book and given a spare, mostly-Budgie backing that could almost be a sparkling Creatures outtake."

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
1. "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us"   Ron Mael Sparks 3:09
2. "Hall of Mirrors"   Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Emil Schult Kraftwerk 5:03
3. "Trust in Me"   Sherman Brothers Kaa (voice by Sterling Holloway) in The Jungle Book 4:06
4. "This Wheel's on Fire"   Rick Danko, Bob Dylan Bob Dylan & The Band 5:17
5. "Strange Fruit"   Lewis Allan Billie Holiday 3:53
6. "You're Lost Little Girl"   John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek, Jim Morrison The Doors 2:57
7. "The Passenger"   Iggy Pop, Ricky Gardiner Iggy Pop 5:10
8. "Gun"   John Cale John Cale 5:06
9. "Sea Breezes"   Bryan Ferry Roxy Music 4:15
10. "Little Johnny Jewel"   Tom Verlaine Television 4:56
2014 remastered reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length
11. "She Cracked"   Jonathan Richman The Modern Lovers 3:07
12. "Song from the Edge of the World (Single Version)"   Siouxsie and the Banshees   3:45
13. "This Wheel's on Fire (Incendiary Mix)"       7:27
14. "The Passenger (Locomotion Mix)"       8:05

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel
  • Martin McCarrick - cello, keyboards, string arrangements
  • Jocelyn Pook - viola
  • Gini Ball - violin
  • Pete Thoms - trombone
  • Luke Tunney - trumpet
  • Martin Dobson - saxophone
  • Julie Aliss - harp
  • Mike Hedges - producer, engineer

Charts[edit]