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.  


  Mojo 07/06  
  Banshees albums three and four, remastered with bonus tracks.

After 1979's joyless Join Hands (also reissued in this latest cache of Banshee retrospection) somewhat dulled appetites for further helpings of Siouxsie's monochrome anguish, the Banshees regrouped to effect a Technicolour renaissance.  Kaleidoscope (1980) was the first Banshees album to feature John McGeoch, though the raft of demos here confirm the shift away from clinical doom towards spacier psychedelic textures was down to the songwriting core of Sioux and Severin.  Happy House and Christine retain their frisson, but it's the minimalist electro daubs of Tenant and Red Light that best withstand posterity's gaze.  Hindsight suggests it was the recruitment of Budgie and his tribal powerhousing drums that really transformed the band:  duly road-hardened, they delivered a near-masterpiece in Juju (1981).  The sheer muscular passion of the performances lent credibility to Sioux's increasingly lurid lyrical fantasmagoria - Daphne du Maurier goes S&M - and the Banshees were never more powerful than astride the mighty rock groove of Monitor or amidst Head Cut's curdled horror show.

Kaleidoscope 4/5
Juju 4/5

Keith Cameron



  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  
  While Juju has been widely acclaimed as Siouxsie & The Banshees' 'goth masterpiece', and even though there’s no arguing against that it is indeed an extremely dark album, I am rather reluctant to call it a 'gothic' album.

Having said that, Juju has all the ingredients that could easily be considered essential for a goth experience: it is merciless in its all-round consuming darkness; it is disturbing with its cacophonic entirety; it is mysteriously claustrophobic with its dense guitar sounds and tribal drums; it is freaky and spooky with its heart attack-like intensity. And so on. Yet, I can't help but feel that there is a tongue-in-cheek sensibility towards all the gothic elements on the album: how else would you explain such songs like 'Head Cut', where Siouxsie is expressing desires to take someone’s decapitated head home
with her for some dolling up after which she can add it to her collection of other decapitated heads? Or maybe it’s just me finding some of the 'gothic' elements just so excessively morose that it makes them impossible to be taken seriously… 

One other reason that makes me hesitant to call Juju a goth album is that simply calling it that wouldn’t do the album nor the band justice.  Juju is the only album where they ventured to such extremities with totalitarian darkness and as it happened, they never returned to that particular sound again. Their career consists of such varied albums, that I had somehow always managed to miss-look the 'goth side' of their music and had actually considered them rather poppy in their melodic post-punk oeuvre. Juju is a creation of its time (hence it being released around the time of The Cure’s darkest piece, Pornography) and has earned its place among the most influential pre-goth and post-punk albums. 

Siouxsie & The Banshees has always been shocking and controversial in their own merits rather than being lumped together with some herd of
supposedly similar-minded albums and bands. 

Still, it is the sometimes almost systematically overwhelming cacophony and darkness that makes Juju probably one of their most consistent and
lasting albums. There really is no other album like this. It has proved to be a stone-cold classic that will stand the test of time and like a ghost it will keep on haunting us with its unhealthy atmosphere of dusky sombre and with its angry chant-like hubbub of utter erratic-ness that will bunch you in the face like an ice-cold breeze in the deepest winter and… Sorry. You get the idea. 

Viva darkness!

Emmi Joutsi 07/06