THINGS haven't been going too well for former Bananarama person Siobhan Fahey these past few years, but now she's finally back on the road with a new band, playing low key gigs around Ireland in a tentative attempt to find her feet again.
Shakespears Sister played the first of five shows in Whelans of Wexford Street on Monday night, and from the moment she hit the stage Siobhan Fahey made it clear that she was hell bent on rock `n' roll bliss. New songs like I Can Drive, Oh Dear and Do I Scare You? were glammed up, Bowie-esque borrowings, replete with descending chord runs and kitschy backing vocals, and the band punched out the riffs and pulled out the stops in an effort to make maximum impact. Despite the determined delivery, however, most of the tunes descended into a confused mix of influences, and the vocals, guitars and keyboards seemed locked into an ever circling battle for cohesion.
Siobhan Fahey's voice, though limited, has a certain feline quality, and when she wraps her throat around the softer verses she almost purrs. When she tries to reach for the cream, however, it's apparent that the loss of Marcella Detroit has disrupted the delicate balance which kept Shakespears Sister teetering on the interesting.
To compensate, Siobhan reworks her biggest hit, Stay, as a bluesy, r & b workout, reducing it from a monster classic into a minuscule tune. I Don't Care fares better, being a pretty straightforward slice of defiant rock `n' roll, and Goodbye Cruel World has a certain streak of righteous revenge, but Hello (Turn Your Radio On) is a cruel reminder of past glory, made all the more poignant by the line "Is there anybody out there to help me sing my song?"
Shakespears Sister were a pretty OK pop duo, but as a solo act they're right back at square one.