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