Unknown source 1992  
  Twice Upon A Time Poster Click Here For Bigger ScanIt's undoubtedly a sound career move, but that the former Grand Viziers of Goth's slickest offering to date is a sonic accompaniment to gloomy Gotham City on the soundtrack to Batman Returns has a nice irony to it. Whatever would Siouxsie have said to such an idea in '78? A curt dismissal, no doubt.

But things change and their second "best of," dating from '82 on, shows how much the Banshees have moved away from the goth business. They produced some of their best work in this period, superbly crafted vignettes of dark-hued psychedelic melodrama. Just how far they've come is shown by the '84 reworking of "Overground," originally on their debut LP "The Scream," where the teeth-grating abrasion of old gives way to a panoramic sound of martial drumming, strings and flamenco guitars. Strings were virtually omnipresent at the time, forming a churning undergrowth to "Dazzle" and winding around the rhythms of "Slowdive."

The music's sensuality is mirrored in the lyrics, which are hardly your average boy-meets-girl stuff. The Baudelairean imagery of "Melt!" evokes claustrophobic scents of opium, sex and sickly flowers, and lapses into morbidity with lines like, "You are the melting man and as you melt, you are beheaded." OK, it's a touch ludicrous, but a great pop song nevertheless. Big hit "Dear Prudence" first showed how adept the Banshees were to become at tackling others' material, proven on the underrated covers LP, "Through The Looking Glass." Included here are Dylan's "This Wheel's On Fire" which gets an oriental reading, and the horn-fuelled lope of Iggy's "The Passenger."

Recently the Banshees have gained a new audience but kept their pop integrity intact, no more so than on "Peek-A-Boo," a shuddering collage of depth-charge bass, accordion and everything else. Which brings us full-circle to "Face To Face," sleek and smooth, with more good old sex and death imagery.

"Twice Upon A Time" is an hour of heady pleasure, a legal intoxicant par excellence.  

4 Out Of 5  

Dave Morrison



  Unknown source 1992  
  Twice Upon A Time Advert Click Here For Bigger ScanReviews BOTH Once AND Twice Upon A Time.

I think I can safely say that no other record this year will admonish an Arabian shepherd for raping a ewe, celebrate the power of a Soho stripjoint dominatrix, incite infants to kill their parents and relate the satanic circumstances surrounding Jayne Mansfield's decapitation.  But then, they'll never be another band like The Banshees.

Sid one of "Once...", with the exception of the novelty-punk "Hong Kong Garden", is dense, grey, minor chord stuff, the sound of a band weathering and surviving The Punk Wars.  The quaintly dated, calculated eeriness of "Happy House", beginning side two, probably invented G***.  But the Banshees hit their fisrt peak circa 1982's "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse".  The orchestral "Fireworks" and "Slowdive" constitute a neo-Baudelaiean remystification of the "little death" of the orgasm: "Swimming in poison/Gasping in the fragrance/Sweat carves a screenplay/Of discipline and devotion".  Do not adjust your sets - this is what we used to call poetry.

"Swimming Horses", with its surrealist imagery and avalanches of piano, and the impossibly opulent "Dazzle", are equally awesome, but ironically the period will be best remembered for a cover of The Beatles' psychedelic whimsy "Dear Prudence".

The Banshees indulged themselves with and album of covers including an interminable reworking of Iggy's "The Passenger".  But Siouxsie's later years are not without highlights.  When Polydor first heard "Peek-A-Boo", a stilted collage of backwards farts and brass parps, they thought it was a joke.  It's brilliant.  "Candyman" features the ultimate Severin bassline, "Kiss Them For me" was a dignified riposte to baggy, and "Face To Face" more than matches Michelle Pfieffer's feline grace.

Buy both halves, and enjoy a cascade of jewels you manifestly don't deserve.  Kiss them for me.  

Simon Price



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