Four albums have just been released by the much-maligned (but much better than you probably remember) art-rock act Shakespears Sister, the project of former Bananarama singer, Siobhan Fahey. These include one reissue, two previously unreleased albums and one collection of remixes.


‘The MGA Sessions’

‘The MGA Sessions’, which is being released as a Siobhan Fahey solo album, is often regarded to be her darkest work (which is certainly saying something when you consider much of her output). Shakespears Sister’s breakthrough single and number one hit, ‘Stay’, springs to mind in particular. Written in collaboration with Fahey's "muse" at the time, Sophie Muller in 1993, the album charts the rollercoaster rise and fall of a young female in the music industry. Not necessarily autobiographical, the intent of the album was to create a character from which a script and eventually a film would emerge. Sadly a film did not come to fruition, but the album remains her strongest and most interesting work to date in my opinion. An interesting aside is that most of the album was recorded across the span of twelve months in various sheds and church halls in north London.

Standout tracks are ‘The Attic Song’, ‘Where's the Party’ and ‘Suddenly’.

Although really an experimental collection, ‘The MGA Sessions’ shows Fahey at her best, no doubt inspired by her director friend, Muller and is something that will appeal to old fans and newcomers alike. The album also includes two alternate versions of ‘Was it Something I Said?’ and ‘A Christmas Number One’, and is tailed by a short interview with Fahey, which is articulate, lucid and insightful about her thought processes as a musician and the creative process in general.

‘#3’

The 2004 third album from Shakespears Sister, created purely by Fahey after the bitter break-up with former band member Marcella Detroit, is the one that is often thought to be her strongest album. Dave Stewart certainly thinks so anyway (although he did co-produce it and was also previously married to Fahey).

The album features Fahey's trademark edgy lyrics, often to the accompaniment of upbeat backing music. At times fast paced and punchy, at other times mournful and sombre - this is Shakespears Sister’s most accomplished and consistent offering thus far.

‘I Can Drive’, ‘Can You Wait That Long’ and ‘Excuse Me, John’ would be the high points on most other albums, but serve as excellent fillers here. The album is that good. The only disappointment is closing track ‘Never Could Sing’, which lacks any real oomph or sense of purpose and feels completely out of place here.

A very welcome re-release and nicely remastered to boot! Highly recommended.

‘Cosmic Dancer’

Something of a radical departure for Shakespears Sister, ‘Cosmic Dancer’ is their fifth and latest studio album and features tracks spread across the last decade. Fahey's great strength was always in writing eerie ballads and catchy pop tracks (a remnant from her Bananarama days?), imbued with dark haunting lyrics. And to some extent this is why ‘Cosmic Dancer’ stands out as an anomaly in their oeuvre as many of the tracks featured here are acoustic. Do not let this deter you, however, as this is a strong body of work and a welcome release. There are still electro-tunes aplenty, and there is much here to be discovered and enjoyed.

Another peculiarity is that the album features several covers, such as Patti Smith's ‘Dancing Barefoot’ and Marc Bolan's ‘Cosmic Dancer’. Again another of Fahey's strongest abilities was in the power and quality of her songwriting. This is only a small gripe; this is a fine collection again, and features some of her best work to date.

‘Remixes’

‘Remixes’ is a compilation featuring mixes of three Shakespears Sister singles, ‘Pulsation’, ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Bitter Pill'. Although the tracks are lively enough and the high production values are plain to see, this is probably more for the hardcore fans and avid Fahey aficionados.

A timely release, given the relative success as a download-only release previously, this still remains a collection for the completists out there, and is unlikely to draw in many new fans on it's own. The main appeal of the band after all,was the uniqueness and individuality of their sound; remixes of this kind of band do not bring anything new to the table (unless of course, you were not a fan of the music to begin with).


In order of preference I recommend you check out ‘#3’ and ‘The MGA Sessions’ first, then if you are impressed have a listen to ‘Cosmic Dancer’. ‘Remixes’ is really for completists only.















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23853 Posted By: David Wright (Ossett West Yorkshire)

Hi, being scouring the internet to purchase cosmic dancer cd with no luck. Nobody seems to have this, you are my last hope.Cheers Dave.


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