Record Mirror 26/11/83  
  Nocturne Advert Click Here For Bigger ScanCould it be that it was all so different then...?  Way back in the annals of poptime when the florid, Keatsian figure of Steven Severin was still plain Stevie Spunker, and the dismal thrash of Siouxsie & The Banshees was merely an aural extension of the Bromley Contingent's fashion antics, who'd have thought it would come to this?  'Events' at the Royal Albert Hall, double live albums... they're probably working on a 'concept' LP right now.  I always presumed the whole point of the new wave had been to sweep away the portentious, self indulgent flatulence of a cosseted rock 'elite' - but what do we find?  Siouxsie and Co regressing to that very 'advanced' stage of development that must surely herald The End.

Hearing this sad souvenir, you can imagine the sorry spectacle enacted in the auspicious portals of the Albert Hall - a spent group of people going through their irrelevant motions to the baying approval of an audience far more blindly entrenched in their blinkered enthusiasm, than any HM crowd.  'No Overdubs' pleads the gatefold sleeve, as if that could excuse the humourless, monochrome excess in the grooves as Sioux wails on with an unerring ability to avoid the scant melodies.  Budgie and Severin clatter and plod in antiseptic manner while crazy guy Bobby Smith sleepwalks through his McGeoch and MacKay catalogue with nary a stir.  Over the seven years of interminable gigs and records the Banshees have actually come up with very few bona fide good songs.



  Webmaster 08/11/01  
  Nocturne Advert Click Here For Bigger ScanThe live opus. I was going to start off by saying, that you either love or hate live albums, that they are either good or bad. But it's not that simple. I'm a bit biased when it comes to Nocturne as I was at the second night of the filming/recording. And therein lies the problem for me. The segueing together of two shows. I'm sorry but I don't think it works, it loses it's beginning, it's middle, it's end, there is no slow build, no climax. However Nocturne is a great live album. The use of The Rite Of Spring as the intro (did they ever use it again?). A former 'punk' band playing the Royal Albert Hall, genius. The whole band is on good form. Robert Smith is great, but what a shame this didn't happen while McGeoch was still in their ranks. Siouxsie is on fine form vocally. The track listing? As the only official live recording of The Banshees I find it very disappointing. Nothing from Join Hands, only Happy House & Paradise Place from Kaleidoscope, would have been nice to have one of the more experimental songs from Kaleidoscope instead of Paradise Place. Juju heavy, Dreamhouse heavy. And although they included songs from the unreleased Hyaena, they refrained from including any on the finished product. B Sides? We get the stupendous live rendering of Pulled To Bits, so different from the studio version and the psychotic Eve White/Eve Black (and yes the Ushers did look on in horror when Ms Sioux let rip that blood curdling scream). But wouldn't it have been great to have heard more? The album cover, what a disappointment. At a time when their artwork was possibly at it's best, we are given this nasty, and frankly ugly cover. Finally, The File single, the cover design is superb and was the consequence of a competition with the fans, and yes we get a song from Hyaena!!!!!   


  Sounds 11/83  
  Nocturne Advert - Click Here For Bigger ScanThe GREAT live albums, James Brown at the Apollo, the MC5's "Kick Out The Jams", the Velvets "1969" to name but three, are assertive, definitive statements, which speak volumes more than could an infinite series of studio albums.  The rest, the majority, of which this is one, are transparently unnecessary.  Their sole purpose seemingly, is the self gratification of the artist concerned, along with the shifting of units which are usually peculiarly weightless.  Perhaps way back when we were confronted with the loveless grandeur of "The Scream"  instead of the sensual, shuddering, shambling paradise we'd been promised, a live Banshees album would have effortlessly glided into the first category.  Now pre Xmas 1983, it settles proficiently and equally effortlessly into the second.  And so proficiently!  For what it's worth (i.e. little or nothing), the music here is faultless, although it falls noticeably short of the immaculate studio recordings.  It's a tasteful collection, a selection of chunky bits from the last few albums and singles.  So What?  Unless these happen to be your sixteen favourite Banshee, the artifact is completely worthless from it's orchestral splat of an introduction, courtesy of Stravinsky, to it's far from climatic "Voodoo Dolly" close.  The Banshees have a new studio album nearing completion, which fact is immeasurably valuable, as otherwise this affair would suggest a frightening dearth of imagination.  It does serve, however to clear up two useful points of interest: the stunning inflexibility of Siouxsie's voice when spread over a range of material so superficially diverse as this one; and the utter anonymity of Robert Smith as Banshee, slavishly imitating McGeoch and failing miserably, adding nothing of his own dubious individuality to the proceedings.  In all, from it's messy, garish packaging to it's accompanying video, this is one of the most pointless exercises imaginable.  And it's a double!  That strangely familiar sleeve lettering; that perfunctory run through of those we might have loved; that implicit Yuletide, hard sell message!  This might well be "The Song Remains The Same"  A proud boast that claims "No overdubs" says it all.  That a band so originally feared, so latterly revered as this should resort to such a weak snatch at credibility is proof enough that things are far from what they ought to have been.

Robin Gibson



  Unknown source 11/83  
  Nocturne Advert Click Here For Bigger ScanAs for the Banshees, the don't actually need a live double album (this was recorded at the two Albert Hall gigs less than a couple of months ago) since they are one of those rare groups who don't performance.  Still, that doesn't mean that 'Nocturne' doesn't doesn't include a host of divine pleasures...

Like all double albums it should have been a single platter.  I'd dispense with all of side one and side two (except the final track, a ferocious version of 'Sin In My Heart').  Siouxsie's voice is so flat on the opening track, 'Israel', that's it is impossible to listen to without flinching.

Whatever strengths Siouxsie's voice might boast, the ability to hit the dots accurately has always been a problem.  While that may not matter too much in the immediacy of live performance, when heard at home it's painful.

But at other points the Banshees give themselves up to their music with a singlemindedness and dedication that is magnificent to behold.  They care about every second that is passing by; they play their instruments like they are making love; inaccuracies drop casually, slight errors are committed, yet fade away into irrelevance as the collective spirit blossoms.

'Nocturne' isn't so much a record that restores faith as nourish the flame.  It is not to be worshipped but to learn from.  Buy this and you will find your inspiration and determination succoured.

Lynden Barber



  Unknown source 1983  
  Nocturne Advert Click Here For Bigger ScanThe bit I like best about the Banshees live is when the lights go down, the intro music comes up, and the band walk on amidst bristling expectancy all peroxide, pearls and black beauty.

That anticipatory atmosphere transfers well onto vinyl, making this live double album's intro track 'Israel' the best for bringing back the Albert Hall.  And from then on?

What you get is 16 songs of definite quality and distinction (Siouxsie's voice measures up just as well outside the studio), plus the chance to pick up some haunting B-sides that you might have missed like 'Pull To Bits' and 'Eve White/Eve Black'.  The high spot is the old style fave 'Helter Skelter' - electric energy!

The set's good value as well - you can play 'Kensington' on the cover!


Ursula Kenny



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