Reviews & Recommendations
Switchblade Symphony
(Susan Wallace & Tina Root)
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"Switchblade Symphony, a compelling union of chemistry and circuitry, was formed in San Francisco in 1989 by composer Susan Wallace and vocalist Tina Root. These talented artists took dreamy, dark visual imagery, the poetry of alienation, and the timeless romance and grandeur of classical and theatrical styles of music, and layered these elements over dynamic heavy beat industrial and lush electronica to create a unique and vivid auditory tapestry. "

Switchblade Symphony is probably the only viable alternative to Siouxsie in the 90s. This duo from California, formed in 1989, started touring the underground scene of San Francisco in the early 90s, self-releasing a couple of EP cassettes (Fable in 91 & Elegy in 92) and gathering a growing fanbase of faithful followers. In 1995, they were signed by Cleopatra Records and released their critically acclaimed full-length album Serpentine Gallery, including all of their earlier self-released songs. To many, this album was the highlight of Switchblade Symphony's career, but the female duo kept on going with two follow up albums in 1997 and 1999, skilfully incorporating elements of trip hop and experimental music into their sounds.
-- Said Sukkarieh,, 7/01

 Switchblade Symphony Discography - Album / CD Reviews

****¼ 1995: Serpentine Galleryaudio

"Not one song on Serpentine Gallery is dismissable -- Tina makes sure of that. Her voice, a sharp and powerful merging of Siouxsie's and Sinéad's, pierces through the haunted music-box sound of the band to the listener's psyche. While other female-headed alternative bands, like Lush or Belly, overcompensate for their singer's lack of talent by drowning her voice in a sonic fog, Switchblade Symphony know the strength of Ms. Root's voice and make no apologies for letting it soar high above the haunted melodies.
The band adopts the essential elements of the Gothic movement without pandering to outdated themes and clichés (like graveyards, vampires, and other spookies). The song Wallflower is a metaphor that compares an ordinary woman's struggle for self-worth to a flower breaking through the soil. Gutter Glitter breaks into a haunted chant of London Bridge is Falling Down. This eerie collection is never self-pitying or depressing, as most naively associate with Gothic music. Defiant, cold, powerful, and self-assertive would be more appropriate terms for describing this remarkable band. "
-- Robert B. DeSalvo , Prime Magazine, 12/95

"In the tradition of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Switchblade Symphony delivers dark poetic lyrics accompined with moody, dreamy, experimental sounding music. Best listened in the middle of the night with the eyes closed. Tina Root places images of flowers,darkness, dollhouses, and other shadowy figures in your mind, and this to me is pure genius. They break the barrier of music, and not just deliver songs but movie like imagery. Starting with the goth rock sounding Bad Trash, and ending with the skipping,(purposefully), piano accompined Bloody Knuckles, the listener will get a treat full of candies aand flowers. "
-- Noah Lyons, via reviews

*** 1997: Bread & Jam For Francesaudio

"The band has taken this work down a new path, a scratchy, back-beat laden one. The lush eeriness of their first album, Serpentine Gallery, is replaced by an obsession with trip-hop dance in this release. Granted, they almost pull it off. Some of the tracks have an infection that can't be overlooked. The gloom-enhanced Sleep and Witches bow to the devoted, and the scratching bats and operatic musings of lead vocalist, Tina Root, in Fractalcan surely drive one to the brink of insanity. The hard and funky Tunnel, however, most shows the band at its new best, melding the darkest of lyrics with a indelibly contagious rhythm."
-- reviews

*** 1999: Three Calamities audio

"(...) 'Bread and James for Frances', a very fine mix of soft goth and trip-hop had disappointed many, there is a strong risk that 'The Three Calamities' won't either be what many had expected...
(...)'The Three Calamities' is fragile music. This is a precious japanese flower garden. This is the bedroom you had as a teenager, filled with pretty toys and melancholic thoughts. Could I say this is music to make love to? Anyway, this is music to listen to in calm moments, all ears and heart ready. "
-- Nicolas,, 8/99

2001: Sinister Nostalgiaaudio

A Switchblade Symphony Remix Collection released by Cleopatra Records. The album contains new, as well as previously-released remix tracks by such names as: Apoptygma Berzerk, Rosetta Stone, Kevin Haskins, Razed in Black, Temple of Rain, 6am Eternal, ...

Recommended links:

Switchblade Symphony's site
Switchblade Symphony's on Myspace

Similar Artists:

Siouxsie and the Banshees | The Creatures | Darling Violetta | The Temple of Rain | Faith and the Muse | Cindergarden

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