Strange Boutique

The Kindest Worlds

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This terrific farewell album (the liner notes mention a death in the family, two divorces, and half the band moving West, sorry to say) instantly brings back well-loved early-'80s Siouxsie and the Banshees' singles from "Spellbound," to "Candyman," only Strange Boutique singer Monica sings with slightly more calm, cool, and caution than her famous predecessor, to whom her voice also resembles. On winners such as the intense "Chant the All," guitars dart and flit with old-time echo and heavy bass churns, while drums lay down tom-rhythms more than straight beats, and the clean tapestry is as important as the songs themselves. Strange Boutique knew their history, too, judging by this fresh look at "A Strange Day" off the Cure's absolutely harrowing 1982 LP, Pornography. This CD also tacks on a 1989, four-song EP, Easter Island, as bonus tracks for good measure. Fresh exit albums are always so bittersweet...

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