Not since Devotcka’s cover of Last Beat Of My Heart have we been treated to this kind of passionate cover of Siouxsie & The Banshees. This is the work of Los Angeles-based five-piece The Saint James Society, who feature this cover on their latest EP, Covered In Blood—which was just recently released on as a very limited edition pressing on used medical x-rays.
The EP’s title is an obvious play on words, as it also features version of Russian Roulette by Lords of the New Church, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Bauhaus, and Hot Sand by Shocking Blue.
The video, Directed by Juan Azulay (Sigur Rós / Lydia Lunch / The Cult), features footage from Tavia Ito’s archive of artist Maya Deren’s ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’. Deren is considered to be was one of the most important American experimental filmmakers and entrepreneurial promoters of the avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s.
Juan Azulay explains the difficulty in creating a video for a cover of such a classic and revered song:
“Oil fields burning. Mirrors at High Noon. Veiled priestesses of retro doom. Sigils, choreographing ravens, the ritual of particles in alchemy.
“Is it even possible to cover Siouxsie and the Banshees at this time, where the imperfect copies and impostor reproductions of savage originals often get more acceleration than the birthright? How about making a video of a savage original in the day and age where images are limitless and devalued?
“The video for The Saint James Society’s cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ‘Arabian Knights’ does nothing to do justice to the original. As a matter of fact, it disregards everything about originality by placing excerpts of Maya Deren’s ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’ in the same vessel as particle-driving algorithms, a single take of Brandon Burkart with dematerialized stills of the rest of the Society priests.
“The result is a time-based potion of charged pixels and nothing else but the gloriously dirty and sticky version of ‘Knights’ choking on MoMa’s mold gathering celluloid archive.”
Cover In Blood is out now via Blank City Records