The Creatures

Feast

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    8
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Recorded in Hawaii between Banshees activities, Feast lives up to its surroundings -- at least the way most people want to imagine it -- as a lush, tropical experience. Almost a tribute to the exotica of acts like Martin Denny but well before the cloying rush of mid-'90s hype around such items, Feast is just that, a chance for the duo to marry Sioux's often cutting lyrics to a different musical brew. Waves crashing on beaches, found-sound effects from nature, and on three cuts the backing vocals of a hula academy's chanters add to the dreamy, mysterious flow of the album. Longtime Banshees producer Mike Hedges assists once again with the proceedings, helping to carry over the dark undertow of the main group to the duo's work here. Budgie varies the more frenetic drum assaults found on Wild Things in favor of a variety of speeds and tempos, but always with a crackling energy, whether low-key and tense or more outwardly rollicking. Sioux's singing succeeds as well as her work in the Banshees, her strong, instantly recognizable voice and lyrics often draped with a gentle reverb that increases the hazy, narcotic feeling of the album. "Miss the Girl," the concise number chosen as a single from the album, has a brisk, catchy feeling to it that avoids straightforward pop for the Creatures' own stripped-down, unexpected approach. Other strong cuts are "Dancing on Glass," a shuddering combination of drum and handclaps that achieves an almost ritualistic groove; the playful, gentler "Gecko"; and "A Strutting Rooster," a strong, rumbling number with one of Sioux's best performances. The backing choir gets an individual chance to shine on "Inoa'Ole," their interwoven voices blending into evocative drones and whines as well as Budgie's slow, forceful percussion and Sioux's own wordless chants.

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