Classic Rock 06/09  
  Goth live if you want it.

Long-time Siouxsie And The Banshees fans harbour an enormous affection for the band's earliest BBC recordings.  For while the original quartet of Sioux, Severin, McKay and Kenny Morris were one of the most controversial, notorious and genuinely innovative of all the first generation punk bands they were - aside from The Ants - the last to get signed.

The two John Peel sessions the Banshees recorded in the year prior to their debut album (The Scream) were heavily bootlegged as Love In A Void, and as a consequence the band were influencing the future of post-punk rock (the earnest artists latterly known as Joy Division and Bauhaus were clearly taking note) before they'd even persuaded the mainstream record industry to offer them a contract.

If those eight iconic recordings - far starker and far quintessentially Banshee-er than the Scream versions - were all that you got here it would still be worth a punt.  As it is, this excellent, exhaustive audiovisual box set (comprising three CDs and one DVD) is an essential purchase for Sioux fans old and new.  Among sessions and live sets garnered from very Banshees incarnation you'll find all their Whistle Tests, all their TOTPs, all the source material of such bootlegs as Janet And The Icebergs and Strawberry Girl, as well as substantial sleeve notes from Paul Morley.  A delicious feast.  Gorge away.


Ian Fortnam



  The Crack 06/09  
  Siouxsie Sioux was always one of the most interesting of the punk artists and she - along with her band, The Banshees - is the subject of a new box-set we're flagging up as: sumptuous.

On first catching wind of what Siouxsie and the Banshees were all about, John Peel and his producer John Walters, made an unsuccessful attempt to sign them up for the BBC.  Imagine:  the bare breasts, the swastikas, the Bill Grundy TV appearance with the Sex Pistols... No wonder the Beeb knocked them back.  Ironic then, that they recorded some of their best stuff for the BBC, as evinced by this fantastic box-set which includes 84-tracks recorded for the corporation between 1977 and 2001.  And as well as three audio discs, the set also contains a 29-track DVD of the band's best TV performances where they popped up on everything from The Old Grey Whistle Test to Top Of The Pops.  The whole shebang has been digitally remastered and the set also includes a 30-page booklet with extensive sleeve notes by top pop boffin, Paul Morley.




  Time Out 06/09  
  It's a DVD, but not as we know it.  This lavish, hardback, book package - sure to send fans into panda-eyed paroxysms of delight - also features three CDs of digitally remastered tracks and a 30-page booklet penned by Paul Morley, plus band interviews and an introduction written by the queen of kohl herself.  The 29-track DVD covers performances on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', 'Something Else', 'Top Of The Pops' and a 'Rock Goes To College' broadcast from 1981.  Since these clips are ordered chronologically, it's possible to see how the Banshees developed musically and grew in stature and confidence, and to track the charismatic Siouxsie's gradual transformation from a punk Cleopatra to a '40s-style starlet, the likes of 'Christine', 'Happy House', 'Israel' and 'Spellbound' providing the peerless soundtrack.

5 Stars

Sharon O'Connel



  Uncut 07/09  
  The Banshees were perhaps the very first group to make the transition from punk's stage invasion to the more developed theatre of post-punk.  You can hear it in the 1977 Peel sessions here, on "Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)" - the space in the sound, the serrated guitars.  By 1981.  Kid Jensen and Janice Long sessions found them at their artistic peak - by 1988 they had consolidated but achieved saturation point.  Of greatest interest to many will be the DVD of TOTP/Whistle Test performances.


David Stubbs



  Record Collector 06/09  
  This raft of remasters of Banshees material runs through their second phase 80s output with plenty of extended mixes and demos (three or four on each album) to keep the fans happy.  They also happen to sound great, with significant remastering jobs sharpening the likes of Slowdive, Candyman and Dear Prudence.  The ace 1983 live LP Nocturne sounds as good as it ever did on vinyl first time around.

The 3-CD plus one DVD set, At The BBC, is a treasure trove of sessions recorded for the Beeb between 1977 and 1988.  Although the Peel element of this was previously released on the Voices On The Air album, this definitive set boosts things excellently, with three live gigs and sessions for Kid Jensen, Janice Long and Richard Skinner included.  It's a fantastic release, nothing short of an additional/alternative history of the group.  Add to this the DVD of Top Of The Pops, Old Grey Whistle Test and other TV appearances, plus comprehensive sleevenotes, and At The BBC becomes essential in any self-respecting Banshees collection.

At The BBC 4/5

A Kiss In The Dreamhouse 3/5

Hyaena 3/5

Nocturne 4/5

Tinderbox 3/5

Joe Shooman