It’s been a long time, but the fourth chapter of Shakespears Sister goes ahead with Songs From The Red Room, with Siobhan Fahey still the only voice at the controls.
While she presses ahead, former band mate Marcella Detroit has been preoccupied with seeing how far she can go from ‘pop star’ to ‘opera star’ in the company of ITV viewers – viewers who naturally voted her out of the competition despite being the best voice by a country mile.
Good though Detroit is, it’s Fahey who provided a lot of the attitude in the duo – and listening to this album, much that has been good about Shakespears Sister remains.
The frustration comes from the lack of cohesion between the songs, for there are some fizzing electropop numbers here that are forced to share airtime with more sober, guitar based tracks. It’s as if Fahey decided to change direction half way through recording, and the resultant group of tracks feels like it was put together by two different producers.
In the electro camp, Bad Blood is one of many songs to take Donna Summer‘s I Feel Love as inspiration, twisting its features as Fahey sings, “It feels so good to leave it all behind”. The Giorgio Moroder homage continues in It’s A Trip, while Cold offers proof of how much Fahey may have influenced Alison Goldfrapp in the past. Dark, brooding synths back a coldly romantic paean that finds Fahey singing “I am who I am because you told me”. Cold, indeed.
The straight-ahead guitar rock elsewhere is typified by Bitter Pill, a perfectly decent pop song, but sounding out of place in this company. Far better is the darkly reflective duet with Terry Hall, Was It Worth It. “You’ve got it coming to you, the pleasure’s all mine,” goes the sinister promise.
Beneath the surface this hidden malice can often be found in Fahey’s lyrics, as if there is vengeance to be had. Yet what stops this album from ultimately achieving that revenge is its lack of a common voice. What it does prove, however, is that Siobhan Fahey remains a fiercely creative force.