"Okay, I am not a vampire or any other permutation of g-g-goth. But I have always really respected Siouxsie since the early 80's (okay, I'm also pretty old), ever since I first picked up The Scream, which is another great album. Tinderbox is a genre-bending piece of work, and like too many such works, will probably go unrecognized as such by... those who "recognize" this kind of thing. Sure, if you like spooky content, it's all there: death, deals with death, unconditional death, and worse-than-death represent in force. But what makes me check in with this disc again and again -- and it has been a regular, unpredictable guest in my playlist since 1986 -- is that thing about certain albums/discs/recordings that haunt, tease and compel you to keep listening, or to throw it on in the background during those anti-social times when you need something unique to keep you on your toes. What I can say is that this album has, pound for pound, some of the best and most original guitar-playing on it that I have heard; that the disc is incredibly consistent and sustains a black, silky mood from beginning to end; and yet it is because of the blackness that it is, in the end, so compelling and fulfilling. How much more black could this be? None. None more black (-Nigel Tufnel)."
A fantastic entry in the Banshee discography
Matthew | Pittsburgh | 04/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like many, my favourite release from the Banshees is probably "Juju." But "Tinderbox" is my runner-up. With some of the most catchy yet unquestionably dark material the band has ever released, I never grow tired of listening to this album. "Candyman" kicks things off, very fast and peppy. A lot of my friends sort of dismiss this one, and it is admittedly 'sickly sweet' to an extent, but I always loved the instrumental breakdown toward the middle of the song. "The Sweetest Chill" is one of the most beautiful and melodic songs the Banshees have ever done. It has a very melancholic, yet uplifting vibe to it. It is here that you will really begin to take note of the richly expressive guitar work on the album, as well as Siouxsie Sioux's heartfelt and powerful voice. "This Unrest" is a manic, Gothic masterpiece - a slinky, dark rhythm gives the song an added sense of the exotic and then climaxes to a chaotic, frantic chorus. This album probably illustrates some of Budgee's most fantastic drumming with the Banshees, and it is heard on this track, the claustrophobia of "92 Degrees" and the foreboding, epic "Land's End" that appears later in the disc.Of course, the overplayed and overrated college radio hit "Cities In Dust" appears on this release. As a Gothic DJ, I am just worn out on this song. In some ways I suppose I take it for granted that so many people like it. So its presence on this disc is surely noteworthy. I just always skip over it for the more progressive and atmospheric numbers. Overall, I recommend this disc wholeheartedly. Initially, pick up the two singles collections to see if the Banshees are for you. If you like what you hear, then start buying the rest of the albums and seek this one out right away. Some of the Banshees greatest songs are non-single tracks and at least 4 of them are on this release."
Tinderbox...all a flame
D. Wood | 07/30/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Siouxsie & The Banshees' most "listenably" album, TINDERBOX is filled with uncharacteristically melodic tunes. From "Candyman" to "Cities In Dust" the group seems to be at it's musical peak, creating a variety of beautiful melodies most impressively with "Cannons" and "Party's Fall." These tracks and the rest of the album has a sort of "larger than life" symphonic quality that had eluded them in the past. Siouxsie Sioux's vocals are also at their all time best, and used to full effect. It's wonderful to actually hear her soft side and in certain moments on "Party's Fall" one can hear shades of a marvellously rich falsetto that she has never used so expertly.The most inquisitive thing about this album is that although the melodies are light and often hummable, the thematic choices are very much dark and ominous. From the lava-burned victims of "Cities in Dust" to the terriyingly "hot" "92 Degrees"...the themes chosen by the band seem to disturb rather than uplift (but then again, this is a Gothic band, not The Go-Go's)and this contrast actually compliments, adding a depth to their work that was previously not there.Most importantly, TINDERBOX has a clarity, precision and smoothness that had previously escaped the band and has ever since. A later album,SUPERSTITION had good moments, but was overall an uneven effort pushed ahead by a succesful single ("Kiss Them For Me"), and an earlier album, HYAENA suffered greatly from a sort of manic-depression, one moment they were burning a house down, the next they were swimming with horses. TINDERBOX lies inbetween, and seems to reflect a stable, strong band that has a definite edge, but still knows how to create an entire album without floundering.Overall their best work to date."
My First And Favorite Siouxsie Album
jcmcm6 | USA | 05/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had only heard singles by Siouxsie when I bought this cd on a whim, and it's still hands-down one of my absolute favorite albums. It's consistent without becoming boring or repetitive, it really makes the album an experience as opposed to a collection of songs."Lands End" is a delicious tune, easy to just lay back and get lost in. "Umbrella" seethes and twitches in an understated way that makes it probably my favorite song on the cd. I have to say, though, I feel the album falters a bit during "Quarterdrawing" and "The Execution". They're certainly not out of place but I can't say I'd really miss them if they were gone.That one gripe doesn't detract much at all from the overall presence of Tinderbox, so I have to give it a full 5 stars. This is prime Siouxsie material."
A classic and vivid picture of the Banshees' peak era
M. Haswell | Nagoya, Japan | 01/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Siouxsie and the Banshees were easily among the most creative and flexible "alternative" acts to come out of Britain in the late 70s. Despite being strapped with the rather prosaic label of being "Goth," the band repeatedly reinvented their sound and style. After all, what other bands created such disparate sounding albums as Kaleidoscope, Juju and A Kiss in the Dreamhouse in quick succession without compromising an inch of their artistic integrity? While their career was not without its highs and lows, the spirit of the band remained solid throughout, and Tinderbox showcases what is probably the band at its tightest and most invigorated.While Hyaena suffered from overproduction and unevenness, and Kiss in the Dreamhouse had a tendency to be a little too varied, Tinderbox has the band just getting down and playing. John Valentine Carruthers (side note: why were nearly all of their guitarists named John/Jon?) carries on that spidery, ethereal style typical of his predecessors, with just enough of a jagged roughness to imbue the music with that Banshees edge. Budgie's drumwork is top-notch, and the rhythm section holds a consistent, powerful base for the melodies and strains dancing within the music. And Siouxsie - her voice much improved from the occasional off-key ramblings early in the band's career - carries on throughout the songs with appropriate vivacity and/or urgency.There really isn't a weak moment here. "Candyman" gets the album off to an energetic start, before moving on into the softer and more atmospheric "The Sweetest Chill." "This Unrest" creeps in mysteriously, but then turns up the volume and rocks a lot harder (nice, harsh guitar tones in there too). "Party's Fall" is upbeat, but very tight throughout, and "Cities in Dust" stands on its own as one of the band's best known singles (deservedly so). The closer - "Lands End" - is pretty low-key by comparison, but Budgie's touch on the drums is particularly fine here, keeping the music interesting until the end. This specific release also includes the b-sides from the "Candyman" and "Cities in Dust" singles at the end, which are a nice addition as well (even if they do change the context of the album somewhat).All in all, Tinderbox is a vital part of the Banshees career (along with Juju and Kaleidoscope, which are also true classics). Considering the strength of this release, it's somewhat surprising how short-lived this incarnation of the band was. . . .within little over a year of its release, the final line-up of the band was taking over the reins. In some ways this marks the last stage of an era, as Peepshow begins the departure from the headier days of the band. But, if recent rumors indeed prove true, perhaps the final chapter hasn't been written quite yet."