Hormonally Yours [30th Anniversary Edition] by Shakespear’s Sister – Album Review


By Victoria Holdsworth

Originally released in February 1992 on London Records, Shakespear’s Sister’s second album, Hormonally Yours, will be eternally linked with the mega-selling eight-weeks-at-number-one-hit ‘Stay’, but it is, in fact, packed with plenty of other golden moments.

It was always an offbeat, uneasy coupling, singer-songwriter Siobhan Fahey, a former member of iconic 80s pop hitmakers Bananarama, with respected American journeywoman musician Marcella Detroit, known for singing and writing with such luminaries as Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin and Alice Cooper. But the duo set the tone and cleared a mainstream path to acceptance for female-fronted alternative rock – still a rocky road, even in the early 90s. It was a path soon to be stomped by the likes of PJ Harvey, Courtney Love and Alanis Morissette.

This collaboration of musical and vocal styles, whilst elegantly robed in outfits befitting of the legendary queen of female rock, Siouxsie Sioux meant Shakespeare’s Sister were – still are – a force to be reckoned with. Speaking around the time of their short-lived 2019 reunion, Detroit said: “We’ve buried the hatchet, but not in each other.”

Hormonally Yours [30th Anniversary Edition] by Shakespear's Sister – Album Review band

Shakespear’s Sister 1992; Marcella Detroit and Siobhan Fahey

“Barbed and acidic”

Opening with the alluring and deftly delivered ‘Goodbye Cruel World’, Hormonally Yours is spellbinding from beginning to end, with witty and sharp lyrics that have not aged a jot. The hauntingly piercing tones and wails of Marcella Detroit’s multi-octave voice encompass the perfect eerie background to lift the stark and raspingly warm tones of Siobahn Fahey. Hormonally Yours is a wonderful trip down memory lane, continuing with ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘My 16th Apology’, both alluring, poppier lulls, drawing you in to some very well-thought-out beats, all layered with some outstanding vocals and riffs, leaving behind the most wicked smile.

‘Are We In Love Yet’ is oozing with blues and funk inspired licks, bringing a refreshing zing to the whole track, whilst ‘The Trouble With Andre’ delves in to deliciously darker and synthier realms, atmospheric to the hilt, and with lyrics that illuminate the darker sides found within us all.

‘Emotional Thing’ and ‘Black Sky’ are both catchy as hell, the latter leaning on a Stone Roses-inspired ‘Fools Gold’ vibe. Then it’s the unmistakable theatricals of ‘Stay’, that are as heartstoppingly beautiful all these years later, with the barbed and acidic vocal interjections from Fahey making this probably one of, if not the most, iconic song of the nineties.

‘Moonchild’ is enthralling Bowie-esque rock ‘n’ roll, showcasing both vocal characteristics. Layered with some contrasting styles and beats which somehow blend together perfectly, it’s like listening to your two favourite songs simultaneously. But it is ‘Catwoman’, with its dirty, fuzzed out, roadhouse sounds, that is a real standout. Slicked with some gritty vocals and matching guitar arrangements, the striking and gutsy tune is tagged to a prowling chug of a beat and bassline, held together by some fervent guitaring. The track is a work of art, and will keep you hitting the repeat button.

Hormonally Yours [30th Anniversary Edition] by Shakespear's Sister – Album Review vinyl

“Raw and emotional”

‘Let Me Entertain You’ sees us back to the familiar sounds of the band, and has a slow burn which creeps up on you like a coiled snake and is seriously brooding, offering some threatening vocal punctuation from Fahey that’s worthy of a Hammer Horror credit at times. It will send shivers down your spine.

Ending on an absolute masterpiece, ‘Hello (Turn Your Radio On)’ showcases the band’s pure talent, beautiful voices, soul-filled lyrics, and very fine musicianship. No auto tuning, or synthesized beats; it’s raw and emotional, underpinned by the lyrically inciteful line: “Love is a strange thing, just when you think you’ve learned how to use it, its gone.”

This re-issue comes with bonus tracks, which include the very arty ‘Cat Worship’ and ‘Out to Groove’, a lost banger of a tune that makes you wonder how they could have left it off the original album in the first place.

Hormonally Yours is an album that has stood the test of time. Its epic, melancholy soundscapes, weaving threads of alternative darkness, and punk-spiked refrains, blended with some taunting blues and synth-driven heartbeats, make it a near flawless album, and a must for any collection.

‘Hormonally Yours’ 30th Anniversary Edition by Shakespear’s Sister is out now


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