Music Week 24/04/79  
  Polydor reissue possibly the best two albums from the Banshees canon in Kaleidoscope and Juju.  Though Join Hands was a remarkable testament to the band's originality and vision, it was after John McGeoch (Magazine, PiL) and Budgie (The Slits) joined the band that content achieved parity with style.  Kaleidoscope features classic cuts such as Happy House and Christine, while Juju represented a sea change in structure and lyrical reference.  Playing these albums today is more than a stroll down memory lane, illustrating how musical genius retains an urgency and relevance decades later.  


  Q 07/06  
  Too often remembered merely as the band who gave birth to goth, there was much more to Siouxsie & The Banshees than that.  If their beginnings as a group of Sex Pistols fans padding out the bill of the 100 Club Punk Festival in 1976 didn't seem promising, then very quickly - with death-trip debut The Scream and Top 10 single Hong Kong Garden - The Banshees set themselves as a band apart.

1979's Join Hands was their difficult second album, long on murk and short on tunes.  Touring the album, the quartet had a bust-up in Aberdeen and guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris absconded, leaving their tour passes pinned to their hotel pillows.

It was the best thing that could have happened.  Siouxsie Sioux and bassist Steve Severin pieced together new demos with a psychedelic hue - featured here as extra tracks on 1980's Kaleidoscope - and created a new sound.

With guitars provided by the Pistol's Steve Jones and Magazine's John McGeoch, the band's third album lightened the mood.  Happy House, ode to schizophrenia Christine and bonus track Israel remain prime examples of their superior art pop.

The classic line-up, featuring McGeoch and drummer Budgie, was firmly in place for the following year's Juju, The Banshees' other-worldly pop-goth masterpiece.  From propulsive opener Spellbound, through sultry Arabian Knights and loping indie dance prototype Monitor, this is a band that knows it sounds like no other.  If from here on in their records became increasingly polished, then they never again matched Juju for originality.  Twenty-five years later, its echoes - notably the Yeah Yeah Yeahs - lingers on.

Join Hands 2/5
Kaleidoscope 4/5
Juju 4/5

Tom Doyle



  Remember The 80s 07/06  
  After the release of the debut Siouxsie & The Banshees album 'The Scream', the band quickly started work on what was to be one of their most experimental albums. 'Join hands' - the cover recalling the unknown soldier monument - its title and second side referring to the act of praying, was like a kick in the teeth for the punk audience that followed the band during their early days. 

The first side - opening with 'Poppy day' and carrying on with 'Regal Zone', 'Placebo Effect', 'Icon' and 'Premature Burial' carried the sounds and musical concepts of the first album to new extremes. With guitars like razorblades and tribal rhythms, Siouxsie was free to scream her young rebel feelings to the world. 

Different from many of their punk peers Siouxsie And The Banshees were wild and fresh but their songs weren't based on three chord melodies:
they were dissonant, personal and they had a certain ritualistic feeling like no other. If the first side was presenting the Banshees as a certain kind of punk band, the second side - with closing track 'The Lords Prayer' - was something totally new. 'Playground Twist' opens the side with the sound of bells and the first sentence was 'Hanging from your daisy chains...'. 'Mother / Oh Mein Pa Pa' is based on a litany (a duet of Siouxsie and a carillon) and prepares the audience for the fourteen-minute devastation of 'The Lords Prayer'. Siouxsie performed this track at the 100 Club at one of the band's first gigs when it was their only track and the concert was a performance more than a proper gig. On 'Join hands' the band had the courage to record it and it sounds like a direct recording. 

On this expanded edition we have only two bonus tracks: 'Love In A Void (7" single version)' and an unreleased track 'Infantry' that it sounds more like a studio experiment than a proper track, because it is based on a delayed guitar that plays few chords. Nice but not thrilling. 

The real good thing about this reissue is the sound which seems to have been expanded (like on the reissues of 'The scream' and 'Kaleidoscope')
rather than the tracklisting. There's a better separation between the vocals and the instruments and everything has been pumped up without it sounding like they filtered everything using a compressor. 

Check it out if you don't own it and purchase it when you find it at a reasonable price if you already have the old edition.

Maurizio Pustianaz 07/06