The early Creatures material had fallen out of print in most locations for quite a while before Bestiary made its long overdue appearance. Only Feast had made a regular appearance in certain record stores thanks to Japanese pressings;
Bestiary topped that by including the contents of the Wild Things and Right Now EPs as well as ‘Hot Springs in the Snow’, the B-side from ‘Miss the Girl’.
The result collects everything originally put out in the first phase of the Creatures' existence, making for a convenient and very well remastered collection.
No previously unreleased tracks or unexpected bonuses are included, but that's quibbling in comparison to finally having all the cuts available again.
Full lyrics are included, as well as recording details, a brief series of informative liner notes, and even release dates and U.K. chart positions.
Another bonus is the inclusion of all the original sleeve art for the various releases, including the notorious wet T-shirt in the shower shots for Wild Things (an alternate image from that session is the cover for the collection as a whole).
The lovely cover for Feast, featuring Sioux wearing a striking native Hawaiian costume, appears in such a way that one can refold the booklet to make it the front cover, a nice option. (AMG)
1. Wild Things EP (1981)
The debut appearance from the duo unsurprisingly continued the basic Banshees aesthetic to a large degree; Sioux's singing differs not at all, and her subject matter on fractured urban/societal scenarios again takes precedence.
The key difference is the entirely percussion-based music, including vibes and tambourines. Budgie's brisk, full-bodied work is marvelous; anyone familiar with his Banshees' work will appreciate his complex, constantly varied approaches throughout, taking a clear cue from tribal drumming traditions.
The opening ‘Mad-Eyed Screamer’ is the most immediately breathtaking, with both Sioux and Budgie in full command, but the number that gained the project the most notice was the creative revamp of ‘Wild Thing’ itself, which is indeed the old Troggs-performed classic.
The quick roil of ‘But Not Them’, with its sudden, additional stabs of extra clattering and pounding, and the low-key, slow moodiness of ‘Thumb’ also are worthy of note. (AMG)
01. Mad Eyed Screamer
02. So Unreal
03. But Not Them
04. Wild Thing
2. Feast (1983)
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. (AMG)
06. Morning Dawning
08. Ice House
09. Dancing On Gla
11. Sky Train
12. Festival Of Colours
13. Miss The Girl
14. A Strutting Rooster
3. Miss the Girl (Single) (1983)
One of the strongest cuts from the Feast album, ‘Miss the Girl’ is a short track with lead percussion on what sounds like either vibes or marimba, though given the multiplicity of instruments and approaches Budgie favors one can't always be sure. Combined with a series of looped, high-pitched tones on the instrumental breaks between verses, sung by Sioux with her usual attractive authority, it's a quick but effective highlight.
On the flip side is ‘Hot Springs in the Snow’, an instrumental with wordless vocals floating in the mix from Sioux. It's a slightly longer piece showcasing both Budgie's ability with varying percussion instruments (including what sounds like hammered dulcimer) and the Creatures and Mike Hedges' excellent work at producing and arranging the track. Additional tape manipulation on vocals and instruments both add to the song's weird, intriguing atmosphere.
16. Hot Springs In The Snow
4. Right Now EP (1983)
Released by the Creatures in 1983, Right Now remains the highest charting single from the band, reaching the Top 20 in the U.K. and becoming an underground hit in the U.S. as well. "Weathercade," the band's own original contribution, sounds a bit like something from Feast crossed with a more bluesy, sassy approach, in part due to the wailing harmonica/brass sound buried in the mix behind Budgie's rolling drums. It's the title track that's the real winner, though, and deservedly so. Originally a Mel Tormé flop from the '60s, the Creatures tackle it with warmth and playfulness. Sioux has rarely sounded so straight-forwardly pop, even if there's still more than a little of her characteristic cool, while Budgie's swinging percussion work is brilliantly matched with a brass section. It's big band/swing nostalgia years before it occurred, and much better than most of what would follow.
18. Right Now
Compression Level: 3
CD-rip by alekow (EAC and Flac)
Covers Included (400dpi)