Tinderbox (Siouxsie and the Banshees album)

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Tinderbox
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Tinderbox.png
Studio album by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Released 21 April 1986 (1986-04-21)
Recorded May, September and December 1985
Studio
Genre Alternative rock
Length 38:21
Label
Producer Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees chronology
Hyæna
(1984)
Tinderbox
(1986)
Through the Looking Glass
(1987)
Singles from Tinderbox
  1. "Cities in Dust"
    Released: 18 October 1985
  2. "Candyman"
    Released: 28 February 1986

Tinderbox is the seventh studio album by English alternative rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released 21 April 1986 by Wonderland and Polydor Records in the United Kingdom and by Geffen Records in the United States. It was the band's first full-length effort recorded with then-new guitarist John Valentine Carruthers; Carruthers had previously only added a few parts on 1984's The Thorn EP. The first recording sessions for this album took place at Hansa by the Wall in Berlin in May 1985.

Two songs were released as singles between late 1985 and early 1986, "Cities in Dust" and "Candyman". Tinderbox peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart and at number 88 on the US Billboard 200.[1][2] The album is retrospectively considered a classic by both critics and musicians.

The album was reissued in a remastered and expanded edition in April 2009.

Background and release[edit]

The album was written to be presented live on stage in full like Juju was in 1981 on its subsequent tour. After rehearsing the songs for months, the band went abroad in Berlin to record the new material (they had previously recorded in Germany, in Bavaria, for The Thorn EP). The lead single, "Cities in Dust", was the only track that was entirely recorded in London at Matrix studio in August. The rest of the vocal parts were done later in the year at Air Studio.

At the beginning of the song "92°", there is a sample from the 1953 film It Came from Outer Space with the line: "Did you know [...] that more murders are committed at 92 Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easygoing. Over 92, it's too hot to move. But just 92, people get irritable".[3]

The sleeve reproduced a picture of a tornado, taken by Lucille Handberg near the town of Jasper, Minnesota, on 8 July 1927.[4][5] Her photograph has become a classic image;[6] it had previously been used on the covers of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (1970) and Deep Purple's Stormbringer (1974).

Tinderbox was released 21 April 1986. A remastered compact disc was issued in 2009 with bonus tracks including an unreleased version of "Song from the Edge of the World" non-album single with Carruthers on guitars, and an unreleased song with lyrics by Steven Severin called "Starcrossed" recorded in May 1985. The B-sides of "Cities in Dust" and "Candyman", initially added as bonus tracks on the 1986 CD version of the album, were then included in the Downside Up B-sides box set.

A 180g vinyl reissue of the album, remastered from the original ¼” tapes and cut half-speed at Abbey Road Studios by Miles Showell, is scheduled to be released on 17 August 2018.[7]

Critical reception and influence[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[8]

The album was well received by critics. Sounds praised the album on its release. Kevin Murphy wrote, "Tinderbox romps and swoons with all the majesty of Dreamhouse", and added, "it's a refreshing slant on the Banshees' disturbing perspective and restores their vivid shades to pop's pale palette."[9] Jon Savage also hailed the record in Spin magazine: "Its scope, ease, and assurance make it a good collection for the Banshees to relaunch themselves into the international market this spring. Carruthers fits in to the point that you wouldn't know there was a change, and Budgie's drumming is superb. Apart from the singles "Cities in Dust" and "Candyman" (which perpetuates the Banshees' sinister view of childhood), the sparks fly on the crystal clear "Cannons" and the unsettling "Parties Fall".[10] Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan hailed the single "Candyman" as "a great Banshees record".[11][12]

AllMusic reviewer David Cleary retrospectively rated the record 4.5 out of 5 stars, applauding the band for "rocking drumming, drivingly aggressive yet fully textured guitar playing, and masterful, gutsy singing. The songs here are intense [...] in fact, there's a certain satisfying feel to the musically uniform wall of sound here. [...] there are [...] plenty of subtle, effective production touches to be found throughout."[8] The Quietus also praised the album and said: "By removing the focus from the guitar, Siouxsie & The Banshees forged a sound that was totally their own. Rhythmic and percussive, the rock idiom of old was eschewed in favour of a sound that was wholly their own. "Cities in Dust", the first single from Tinderbox, found the band moving into more electronic climes as Severin's recently purchased DX-7 synth discovered new territories to explore."[13] PopMatters listed it among their "12 Essential Alternative Rock Albums from the 1980s", dubbing it a "bold and enchanting album".[14] In 2011, Brett Anderson, the lead singer of Suede, included Tinderbox on a list of albums that he called "current fascinations".[15]

Tinderbox would be later hailed by Jean-Benoît Dunckel of Air. He selected Tinderbox for his "5 albums forever" list, saying, "They played so well together; I saw them in concert and I never forgot that moment".[16] Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle rated it as his all-time favourite album.[17] Howerdel described it as "one of the spookiest records I've ever heard. Some of the songs on there have such a dense atmosphere. Sometimes when I'm stuck, I'll listen to that. It's like sometimes when you have no inspiration and you go out and look at the moon, that's kind of what that record is for me".[18] Jenny Lee Lindberg of Warpaint cited the band among her influences, as well as the song "Umbrella", initially included in the track listing of the 1986 CD version. She said: "This is a song that my husband and I bonded over – we’d definitely heard it individually before, but one day we were just playing the album and that song stopped us in our tracks… played it on repeat for the whole night. I understand why some people can hear a little Siouxsie in what we do."[19]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Siouxsie and the Banshees. All lyrics written by Siouxsie Sioux, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Candyman"3:44
2."The Sweetest Chill"4:07
3."This Unrest"6:21
4."Cities in Dust"3:51
Side two
No.TitleLength
5."Cannons"3:14
6."Party's Fall"4:56
7."92°"6:02
8."Land's End"6:06
Total length:38:21
Siouxsie and the Banshees with John Valentine Carruthers in 1985. Left to right: Carruthers, Budgie, Sioux, Severin.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Tinderbox.[5]

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Additional personnel

  • Steve Churchyard – mixing (Air Studios, December 1985)
  • Lucille Handberg – cover photograph
  • Hugh Jones – recording (Hansa by the Wall, May 1985)
  • Joe Lyons – photography
  • Kevin Metcalfe – mastering
  • Nick Robbins – mixing assistance
  • Julian Standen – recording (Matrix, September 1985)

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[21] 97
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[22] 51
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[23] 34
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 32
UK Albums (OCC)[1] 13
US Billboard 200[2] 88

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Siouxsie The Banshees Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  3. ^ "92 dgr F quote". YouTube. Retrieved 3 September 2017. 
  4. ^ "Tornado History – Historical Tornado Photos". TornadoChaser.net. Retrieved 27 February 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Tinderbox (CD liner notes). Siouxsie and the Banshees. Wonderland, Polydor Records. 1986. 829 145-2. 
  6. ^ Lane, Frank W. (1966). The Elements Rage (1st ed.). David & Charles. Plate 11. ISBN 0-7153-4012-3. The classic photograph of a tornado 
  7. ^ "Tinderbox Siouxsie and the Banshees Vinyl". Udiscovermusic. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  8. ^ a b Clearly, David. "Tinderbox – Siouxsie and the Banshees". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Murphy, Kevin (10 May 1986). "Pop's Royal Couple?". Sounds. 
  10. ^ Savage, Jon (June 1986). "High Priestess". Spin. Vol. 2 no. 3. p. 81. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 3 June 2018 – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ Gahan, Dave (February 1986). "Singles Reviewed by Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode". Smash Hits. p. 58. ISSN 0260-3004. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Depeche Mode". Smash Hits. 7 March 1990. ISSN 0260-3004. Retrieved 25 March 2016. In February 1986 Dave Gahan reviewed the Smash Hits singles. Single of the Fortnight was "Candyman" by Siouxsie & The Banshees (remember that, don't you?). 
  13. ^ Marszalek, Julian (10 April 2009). "Reviews: Siouxsie & The Banshees reissues". The Quietus. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Makowsky, Jennifer (27 August 2014). "Hope Despite the Times: 12 Essential Alternative Rock Albums from the 1980s". PopMatters. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Anderson, Brett (20 July 2011). "Some Current Fascinations Culture". BrettAnderson.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Richard, Benoit (11 April 2016). "5+5 = Jean-Benoît Dunckel". Benzine (in French). Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  17. ^ D., Spence (25 March 2008). "Ashes Divide Q&A". IGN. Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  18. ^ Beckner, Justin (3 March 2015). "Billy Howerdel: I'm a Big Believer in Working for Free, I Did That Most of My Life". Ultimate Guitar Archive. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  19. ^ Kerr, David (16 March 2015). "Under the Influence: Warpaint's Jenny Lee Lindberg". The Skinny. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  20. ^ Tinderbox (remastered CD liner notes). Siouxsie and the Banshees. Polydor Records, Universal UMC, Wonderland. 2009. 531 489-3. 
  21. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 444. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Siouxsie & The Banshees – Tinderbox" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Siouxsie & The Banshees – Tinderbox". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Siouxsie & The Banshees – Tinderbox". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 February 2015.