Shakespear's Sister

SF, 2005


REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


It’s no wonder Siobhan Fahey lobbied so long and fought so hard to obtain the rights for the unreleased third Shakespear’s Sister project -- the music is that good.

Her former partner Marcella Detroit is nowhere to be found on #3, but her former husband, Eurythmic David A. Stewart, is. In fact, Stewart co-wrote and produced most of the material to be found here, with the help of Alan Moulder, Andy Wright and Flood.  With such an amazing team behind her, there was no way Siobhan was about to let #3 slip through her fingers.

As the sole independent release on my Top 100 list, #3 is an unexpected treasure with zero filler. Had this album been released back in the 90s, Siobhan would have faced some stiff competition from Alanis Morissette. All I have to say about that is: Alanis, eat your heart out.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Siobhan may be on her own with this record, but she rises to the occasion and runs with it. With kickass tunes like “Can U Wait That Long,” she proves she is here to compete with the best of them. The difference between the Siobhan Fahey of today compared to her former Bananarama self is like night and day. This album completely obliterates that previous incarnation.

With its Sgt. Pepper-style horns, “I Can Drive” was the only song to be released as a single back when this album was initially being recorded in 1997. It’s reminiscent of something Tears For Fears would have done had they stayed together. Siobhan then turns “Go” into a feminist anthem of sorts and adds some classical touches by incorporating a string section on dramatic tracks like “Opportunity Knockers” and the epic “Oh Dear.” The orchestral element helps to flesh out the overall sound and is what sets #3 apart from anything Shakespear’s Sister has ever attempted before.

As far as her new no-frills persona goes, it is somewhat refreshing to see Siobhan ditch all the goth-chick accoutrements and move into a more lo-fi, alternative direction. No more makeup, gimmicks or pretense. With this record, Siobhan Fahey comes of age as a music industry veteran who realizes just how much talent she truly has. There’s no reason she should feel as if she should run and hide. Sure, it’s a scary proposition to be a solo artist, but with an album like this, Siobhan has every reason to be proud of what she has accomplished.  Her creative instincts here are spot-on.

Even when she veers off into electronica territory toward the end of the album, it is pulsating with intensity and excitement. If nothing else, Siobhan shows how much range she is capable of. With a song title like “I Never Could Sing Anyway,” you immediately get the sense that she is preparing herself for a less than stellar result when it came to the limited sales figures for this final Shakespear’s Sister release. Siobhan may have never broken free from the shackles of her cult status, but at least she had the audacity to keep putting herself out there…good singing voice be damned.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of SF, and is used for informational purposes only.