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Main Category: Mope Rock
Also applicable: Punk/Grunge, Pop Rock
Starting Period: The Punk/New Wave Years
Also active in: The Divided Eighties, From Grunge To The Present Day



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THE SCREAM ****1/2

Year Of Release: 1978

Isn't it funny how any kind of "rebellious outscream", wallowing in its own simplicity, rage and straightforwardness, is bound to be enveloped in "artsiness" garments almost on the very eve of its existence? To be less poetic, only a year, less than a year, even, has passed since The Clash and Never Mind The Bollocks, and here we have a band that musically follows the same punkish pattern, but adds artistic imagery and pretentious posturing on every step...

Actually, that's a very rough definition - to be true, 'punk' and 'art' have been following each other hand in hand since the earliest times, and The Scream is a record that follows the tradition of the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, the New York Dolls and particularly the CBGB giants like Patti Smith and Television, rather than the tradition of the Pistols. All through the album, Siouxsie Sioux wails like a cross between Nico and Patti Smith, and John McKay's ringing guitar is far closer to the style of Tom Verlaine than to the chainsaw buzz of Steve Jones. So what's so innovative about the record, anyway? And why the high rating?

Simply put, the excellency of the album lies in the realisation that Siouxsie and the Banshees improve on a lot of their influences in many ways. The paranoid lyrics are firmly in the, well, paranoid lyrics tradition, but they're not bad - and I really get a kick out of classic lines like 'metal is tough, metal is sheen, metal will rule in my masterscheme', and even strangely straightforward stuff like the anti-smoking slogan of 'Nicotine Stain' can be a gas when you see how little it relies on cliches. The way Siouxsie sings is not necessarily new - like I said, Nico and Patti Smith did that "weird creepy goth tone" before, but Siouxsie has a far wider vocal range than the former, and doesn't get so much out of control as the latter. She's a true singer, and an excellent one at that.

And the music? Well, the guitars throughout simply sound beautiful. It's punkish, but it's an oh so full, tasty and vivacious sound, whether McKay just punches out one pulsating ringing note ('Jigsaw Feeling'), creates jerky New Wave-ish rhythm patterns ('Overground'), or indulges in fat, slowed-down, garage riffage ('Metal Postcard'). In just about every case, the riffs - or rhythms - are memorable and impressive, and the songs never drag on for far too long (an accusation one could certainly hurtle at Television) or transform into an unlistenable mess (an accusation one could certainly hurtle at the Stooges).

Not every track on here is a classic, of course, but at least half of them are, and the others are hardly filler. For me, 'Metal Postcard' is the definite highlight - like I said, the combination of that garage riff with some of Siouxsie's most expressive posturing rules supreme... 'in my masterscheme', yeah. As is so usual with art-punk, the message is not quite clear, but if it's supposed to be a vague condemnation of the industrial society, I'm right there. Icy coldness combined with punkish fire - now that's innovation for you. And talent.

'Jigsaw Feeling' may not be as instantly memorable, but I could go on listen to McKay's frantic guitar throbbing all day, and the same goes for 'Overground'. But as far as catchiness and energy go, 'Carcass' would be your best bet - fast and vicious, the song just crushes you, and the lyrics are true to the musical essence: 'Be a carcass, be a dead pork, be limblessly in love.. in love with your stumps, in love with the bleeding, in love with the pain that you once felt as you became a carcass'.. Not bad, eh? Amazingly, it's about the most "upbeat" that the overall tone of the album ever gets.

I must confess I'm even partial to the band's cover of 'Helter Skelter', a live favourite at the time. They strip the Beatles' tune of all the heavy metal elements and make it into something of a 'goth power pop' masterpiece, with the same overworked jangly guitars bordering on all-out power chord chaos and Siouxsie replacing the obligatory guitar riff that the Beatles used after each chanting of 'helter skelter!' (remember that one?) with a stupid 'da-da-da-da-da-da' that almost seems like a mockery of the original, but isn't quite that simple.

In fact, the only place where I feel let down is the final track, the seven-minute long 'Switch'. Apparently, in the immortal tradition of the Doors, they wanted to end the album on an 'epic' note (some of Siouxsie's extended notes on there, in fact, remind me of old Jimbo), but in doing so, they lose that amazing conciseness and compactness that guided us through all the previous songs and make the whole experience messy and incoherent. After all, they don't have the pioneering advantage of the Doors, so if they wanted to make a cool epic, they had to work harder. That said, 'Switch' can be an acquired taste - I'm not saying it's awful or anything, just inferior to the rest of the songs and thus, more boring.

Which does mar the impact of the record a little - but overall, doesn't detract much from the fact that it's easily one of the most impressive debuts of the epoch, along with the Police's Outlandos D'Amour, I'd say. Certainly not for everyone, though - if you don't appreciate the idea of a little bit of GOTH to go along with your PUNK, you'd better stick to the Minutemen.



Year Of Release: 1979

A weak, shallow, almost laughable copy of the debut album. I almost didn't believe my ears when I first heard this stuff, I thought, 'hey, it's not Siouxsie & The Banshees. It's a corny parody band that's imitating Siouxsie & The Banshees. Now how in the world they managed to screw up like that?'

I mean... geez, oh boy, whatever. You know what sucks so much about Russian food stores? It's when you buy something really good, and you keep buying it for several days, and then when you come there for the fourth time and buy it again, you find out that it's been replaced by a hideous substitute with different, inferior ingredients, yet it still has the same package. Just because the producing guys thought they could fool you and save their money. I don't know if that trick works on anybody else - it certainly doesn't work on me more than once - but it probably does. And that's the same trick Siouxsie and the Bungees played on the British public less than a year after their debut.

All the ingredients are still there, but you really wish they weren't. Siouxsie is still reveling in her Goth intonations, and McKay is still reveling in his punkish guitar lines. Nothing else ever happens. And I mean it. The Scream was notorious for (a) the good riffs, (b) the relative diversity in the atmosphere, (c) the novelty factor. There are no good riffs on Join Hands, nor is there any true diversity, and the novelty factor can't stay on for two albums in a row just like you can't stay a virgin for your second time, you know.

I'll give them one good song, excellent song even on here: 'The Icon'. Good lyrics that might seem to be anti-religious but they're not, they're just mildly proto apocalyptic. And the 'icons falling from the spires' chorus is insanely catchy, that's for sure; that catchiness adds solidity to the melody, and the solidity, in turn, helps the song not to sound like a miserable self-parody - on the contrary, there's a certain majesty here that I didn't even see on the debut. Or maybe I did see it, but I forgot, you know, what the heck, it's Siouxsie & The Banshees, they're not exactly on my Top 10 list when it comes to bands I take to bed with meself.

But however good 'The Icon' is, it doesn't in any way compensate for the hideous mockery that is the 14-minute 'The Lord's Prayer'. Apparently, 'Switch' didn't satisfy the band's Doors-fuelled ambitions, and they decided to dedicate a good third of the record to something longer, something most probably improvised, recorded on the spur of the moment. They blew it so hard they couldn't have blown it any harder. This doesn't even sound like Jim Morrison, because the overall monotonousness is so overwhelming not even 'The End' can compare to it. Just McKay bashing the chitlins out of his guitar for ever and ever and ever and Siouxsie wailing away all kinds of solemn-sounding nonsense. If anything, it's more like a cross between the Stones' 'I'm Goin' Home' and the VU's' 'Sister Ray' - but without the subtlety of the former (McKay's violent, but blunt riffage simply can't compare to the intricate phrase-constructing of Richards, and Siouxsie never varies her tone one note on here) and certainly without the "revolutionary" value of the latter, if any.

I mean, yeah, they certainly go for an overwhelming effect on here - you're supposed to be slowly sucked in by the guitar/voice onslaught and enthralled by it, like a mantra or something, but in order to do that, you have to have this little preconception of Siouxsie Sioux as your potential mental guru. Well, sorry guys, that's not the case. She sings well, but in order for me to put the thumbs up, I'd have to be convinced of the utmost sincerity and dedication at least, and I can't think of 'The Lord's Prayer' as anything more than a giant put-on, you know, "let's do a long-long-longie and pretend it's our B-I-G artsy statement". It was definitely different in the Doors' case, and you know, I can just stay content with the Doors.

And the rest? Well, nothing compares in lameness to 'Lord's Prayer', but still, I find the musical box effects of 'Mother (Oh Mein Papa)' tedious and rather banal (hasn't the "musical box" motive been overexplored to death in horror flicks already?), and drawing them out to three and a half minutes - goddammit, will that chiming ever stop? - was even more tedious. Stuff like 'Poppy Day' just doesn't go anywhere at all, and if you've already heard The Scream, you perfectly know what to expect with that one. A tired, predictable one-chord riffer. The rest isn't particularly bad; 'Playground Twist' rocks pretty hard, and 'Regal Zone' actually comes close to having a decent vocal hook, the only song apart from 'The Icon' to do so. But without any musical progression whatsoever (heck, even AC/DC used to slightly modify their sound from album to album), it's all rather sour. Like I said, it's just an inferior reconstruction.

And I don't like to guess, but you know, I kinda understand why John McKay left after this album. If I were a member of this band, and one fine evening I'd tried to put on both records and analyze them as an outsider, I sure would have to say that basically, the joke had worn thin. Horrendous stylistic self-limitation. I mean, yeah, it's not the only band that does that, but gosh, they were trying to sound serious and all. I mean, it's hardly possible to take The Scream seriously and then take Join Hands seriously as well. Shuh.



Year Of Release: 1980

Heigh-ho, we've changed. We're still the same on a philosophical level, but the sound is radically different. McKay has been replaced by two guitarists, one John McGeoch and the other one none other than ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones. And almost at once, the monotonous punkish ringing that had become so stale and so boringly predictable on Join Hands is replaced by a more melodic, more subtle, and more diverse approach. Since the players all belong to the punk generation, it's still very much influenced by the three-chord approach, but these guitars are notably post-punkish and owe more to the Talking Heads and early XTC than anybody else. There is also a stronger reliance on synthesizers here, although they never become overbearing.

The results are immediately visible on the very first track, 'Happy House'. A mid-tempo moody introduction with delicately chiming guitars and gloomy ooh-oohs from Siouxsie (which renders it eerily similar to the intro to 'Gimmie Shelter'), and then Siouxsie enters with these chillin' lyrics about how we're all happy in the "happy house", whether you choose to interpret it as a metaphor for an asylum or much broader. I personally think it's about an asylum: 'we're all quite sane', 'we've come to scream in the happy house', what else could that be? The minor tonality offers such an amazing contrast with the "friendly" lyrics it's perfectly unnerving, and Siouxsie's singing is unusually humane and compassionate.

Few songs on here are structured in a regular pop song kind of way, but even the pure mood pieces are a step up from the last album because you get to admire the instrumentation and the various untrivial technical decisions the band is taking. 'Tenant' is quiet and menacing, with Severin's steady bass carrying the song and dark spacey synth "gloops" emphasizing Suzie singing about some kind of anti-utopian nightmare. 'Hybrid' achieves within five minutes more than 'The Lord's Prayer' managed to achieve in fourteen, with "active" and inventive guitar riffage and great percussion work. The fast rhythmic near-instrumental 'Clockface' stands as close to the original sound of The Scream as possible, with flurry unsyncopated guitars driving the tune forward, but it actually restores the energy that was so sorely lacking on Join Hands - if only for two minutes.

It is, however, the second side that contains most of the real highlights. 'Christine' is one of the band's most famous tunes, another gloomy tale about a girl who suffers from split personality - "twenty-two faces", actually. The 'Christine, strawberry girl, Christine, banana split lady' chorus, together with 'Happy House', is one of the most touching and least artificial moments in the Siouxsie catalog - in fact, the tune was based on a real case, if I remember that right, and that might give Siouxsie's vocals a tad more emotion and sincerity than usual. One of the best Goth-pop ditties of all time!

'Desert Kisses' has a great use of phasing: the "treated" guitars give out some great mystical atmospheres, further emphasized by background organs and flurry background vocals. Then 'Red Light' relies even more on techno-gadgets and drum machines as the band turns against the model business and "Kodakwhores"; funny thing, one of the percussion effects actually is the clicking of a camera. 'Paradise Place' is another great Goth-pop sendup with the immortal line 'you can hide your genetics under drastic cosmetics, but this chameleon magic is renowned to be tragic'; and the album ends with the chaotic, neurotic 'Skin' where Siouxsie seems to protest against the same thing as Brigitte Bardot does nowadays. 'Cover me with skin and accuse me of sin', Siouxsie implies as the band draws together for one final hyper-energetic performance.

It's kinda hard to write a review like this, because there's too many subtle moments to retell in narrative form - and apart from 'Christine' and 'Happy House', I'm not sure if I could extract one single song from here that'd be able to knock anybody off his feet on its own, but that's the usual problem with mood pieces. It's just important to note that, unlike, for instance, the Cure's concurrent release Seventeen Seconds, there's enough diverse musical effects on here, and distinctive enough vocal melodies, to judge Kaleidoscope as an inventive and innovative record. Maybe it doesn't exactly live up to its name (a metaphor used in 'Christine' to denote her twenty-two different personalities), but a little hyperbole never hurt anybody.


JUJU ****1/2

Year Of Release: 1981

Put Kaleidoscope and Juju back to back and see what makes a "great" record different from a "solid" record - the songwriting, goddammit, the songwriting. At some point, it's almost like the band sat down and said, 'okay, now we're gonna make a blatantly commercial singles-based record but without sacrificing any of our musical achievements'. That's what Juju is: a record chockful of short catchy ditties with distinct, memorable guitar riffs and tight, mesmerizing rhythm sections, but never forgetting about what made Siouxsie & The Banshees a unique band in the first place. In fact, the atmosphere is actually enhanced by the fact they put so much emphasis on the melody here; it never seems like the band is running out of ideas or turning into self-parody, as on the lacklustre Join Hands. And for the matter, neither the lyrics on here nor Siouxsie's singing have ever been better.

There is one relatively low point on the record - despite all of its commerciality, the band still decided to end on an epic note with the seven-minute 'Voodoo Dolly'. It's nowhere near as long as 'Lord's Prayer', of course, and it actually has some goddamn progression (witness the slow build-up to the chaotic feedback hell at the end of the song), but it is also way too Doors-derivative again, with Siouxsie almost note-for-note copying Jim Morrison's intonations at certain points. Even so, it's probably the best of the band's attempts at something minimalistic, long, and virtually rhythm-less.

But goddammit, the Banshees are all about the rhythm anyway, and the rhythm is what you have here in spades - there's nary a weak cut among the remaining eight songs. 'Spellbound' opens the record with jangly guitars - that nevertheless communicate just as much terror and depression as the Byrds' guitars communicate joy and general uplifting. Terrific bombastic percussion joins in midway through, and the way the acoustic guitars in both speakers merge with the main electric riff, burying it behind themselves, is nothing short of genius; add to this a vocal melody that defines the very notion of "smooth phrasing" and ideal production that could not have been dreamt of in 1979, and there you go.

Then there's the robotic guitar pulsation of 'Into The Light', with more astounding six-string work... look at how the New Wave-ish five-note riff fluently gives way to the psychedelic almost Grateful Dead-esque guitar lines accompanying Siouxsie's wailing in the chorus. From there we go on to the next single, 'Arabian Knights', with easily the best chorus on the record. I have no idea what do the lines 'Myriad lights/they said I'd be impressed/Arabian Knights/at your primitive best' is supposed to mean (I get a feeling it's about sexual abuse of women in Eastern countries, what with the 'veiled behind screens/kept as your baby machine' lines and all, but then again it could be about animal sex for all I know), but it doesn't matter as long as Siouxsie sings those lines against the mystical "processed" guitars. You just can't go against any of this; it's easily the band's best production to date, with every instrument as clear as a strawberry jam spot on your white shirt.

'Halloween' simply kicks ass. The most punkish of all the tracks on here, dedicated to psychologically hurting reminiscences of a murder on Halloween, it's just as good as and maybe even better than 'Christine', especially when the rhythm section really starts taking off the ground, with lightning-speed bass runs and equally fast percussion rumblings, while the guitars constantly switch between the punkish one-note assault and the fast guitar jangle. And the side closes with 'Monitor', where they hit upon yet another rich guitar groove, this time a little funky in essence, but at times almost sounding like Jimmy Page with a 'lighter' guitar tone.

The second side, before submitting you to the relative disappointment of 'Voodoo Dolly', still has three great numbers to offer - the crushing 'Night Shift', more gothic and more emotionally resonant to my ears than any of the Cure material; the fast rocking 'Sin In My Heart', with a fantastic intro (you start thinking you're gonna have to sit through yet another slow number, but it slowly picks up steam in a thoroughly natural manner) and Siouxsie's most ravaging vocal delivery on the entire album (listen to the last 'sin in my heaaaaaaaart!' of each chorus); and 'Head Cut', with the most gruesome lyrics of the album (I hope the artificial head collection of that album isn't a metaphor for a real head collection?) and lots of other goodies too technical to mention.

The album isn't too diverse as far as moods go, of course, but it's relatively diverse as far as guitar effects, tempos, and chord sequences go, and that's the only kind of diversity you should ever expect from the Banshees. I mean, yeah, it would be kinda icky to expect a joyful country-western number in between 'Sin In My Heart' and 'Head Cut', now would it? And as far as individual songs go, Juju narrowly beats out The Scream, I think, as Siouxsie's most consistent record - dang, it could almost function as a greatest hits package in itself, and stands competition with the singles collection of the band that was released the same year. A perfect introduction to the band and all of their morose delicacies.



Year Of Release: 1982

What's better - a band sticking to what they do best for albums and albums and albums, or a band willing to take risks and experiment regardless of the outcome? You know you can't give a universal answer to that question, mister, even if it's purely your subjective opinion. You know you can't.

Siouxsie & the Banshees probably couldn't either, because this is the only thing that explains why they kept switching between harder-rocking, more hook-oriented Goth-pop like The Scream and Juju, and mellower, moodier, more vague atmospheric albums like Kaleidoscope and this one. However, where Kaleidoscope actually served to pull the band out of stagnation and set them on newly polished, innovative artistic wheel, A Kiss In The Dreamhouse starts threatening to drive them back into stagnation again. It's clearly "regressive" as opposed to the 1980 album, and while it has its fair share of great songs, overall you gotta be a great great great fan of that style in order not to feel bored. I mean, is a song like 'Obsession' actually good? It has all the trademark ingredients of a Siouxsie classic - a slow, hypnotic riff, a sad 18th century violin arrangement, mournfully chiming bells, a strange 'hissing' percussion sound, an ear-destructive distorted guitar chord for the rhythm, a doom-laden vocal delivery, and lyrics that deal with madness induced by deprivation of the beloved one. But something just doesn't click this time around. If it's your first Siouxsie song, or if you're a religious Siouxsie fanatic, fine; not for me, though.

Oh well, one song at least is totally for me. 'Melt' is, in this pathetic writer's opinion, the most beautiful song this band ever did. It also unquestionably beats out every single depressed Goth-drenched we're-all-gonna-fuckin'-die-and-I'll-say-that-again-and-again Cure song, at least from the Cure's early Eighties period, just because the singing is soooo beautiful. It takes a while to realize the song is actually about a sadistic murder, with lyrics that make 'Venus In Furs' and suchlike seem like innocent childplay, and that makes the chorus 'melt, melt, my love will melt' even more chilling and creepy than it already is. The creepiest thing of all, though, I guess, is that totally "inappropriate" mandolin line that runs through the entire song from top to bottom, as if it was a friggin' Spanish romance or something.

Next to that one, everything else seems tiny and insignificant in comparison... still, from time to time the Banshees do still spring out with a classy tune. Only one song on here really approaches the classic unbridled energy of the band (which it amazingly still had in spades just one year before!), and that's the fast merciless 'She's A Carnival', and even then the 'she's a carnival, she's a carnival' chorus is the only thing that's memorable about it. On the other hand, there's also 'Cascades', which begins with Siouxsie singing in an utterly unrecognizable voice (my guess is she just does not strain it like she normally does) and features some great acoustic backing as well as gurgling head-spinning synth patterns that presumably illustrate the cascades of love themselves.

I can't also badmouth such songs as 'Green Fingers', for instance, with its stern 'with this hand I thee wed, with this hand I thee bed' chorus - it's not exactly a real self-repetition, what with the goofy recorder bit at the beginning and all. And the album closer, the crashing rhythmic discoish sendup 'Slowdive' creatively uses violins and has a booming echoey percussion sound that they rarely, if ever, used before... we're exploring technology, see. But for every such song that's only moderately good I have to endure a short-on-ideas mood piece like 'Obsession' or the endless 'Circle', a weirdly distorted waltz tune with a really nagging, really annoying, really ugly four-note synth pattern repeated over and over. People, if you just play four ugly synth notes over and over again, that does not make song so-and-so "hypnotic". You could at least make them beautiful. And then call your album Thursday Afternoon. I'd understand that.

Well... anyway, it all perfectly fits in with my understanding of Siouxsie and the guys. The moods they create are good, but they really only work when they exploit them within the context of a hook-filled New Wave poppy tune. Just as I never cared much for 'Switch' or, uh, 'Lord's Prayer', I don't care all that much for the pure mood music on Kiss. Granted, the band has gone a long way, and over the period of three years, has learnt to make the best of their abilities as instrumental players and arrangers, but heck, Severin is no Brian Wilson, after all, nor Brian Eno. Neither is he any of those dudes from Amon Düül II, who virtually invented and perfected moody Goth-shaped psychedelic sonic textures a decade before Siouxsie; if I want that kind of sound, I'll turn my attention to Yeti straight away. So while Siouxsie makes full use of all the capabilities of her voice, as on 'Melt', or while they actually give me something to cling upon, like the 'She's A Carnival' hook, it's great. Elsewhere, it's just... okay. Okay?


HYAENA **1/2

Year Of Release: 1984

Uh-uh, golly gee, it's kinda starting to get totally out of control again. Supposedly somewhere around this time Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins started seriously badmouthing the Banshees, saying that they sold out to the very establishment they initially set out to demolish... or maybe it was a little earlier, but anyway, this is where it all starts, baby. You know something's terribly wrong when the first song opens with a little symphonic passage that sounds like it's taken of a bad movie soundtrack; granted, the classic Banshees sound eventually jumps out of the speakers and drowns out the orchestration, but the fact that this "post-Moody Blues" bit of pseudo-neo-classical symph-muzak opens the album is very demonstrative.

Not that the orchestration itself is a big problem - apart from 'Dazzle', strings aren't really seriously used anywhere. The problem is that this album sucks regardless of how many cello arrangements they put in there. Somehow the band decided that "guitar rock" was either obsolete (again?) or they had just outgrown it, so instead of building songs on guitar riffs and working out the fleshy, substantial arrangements, they get this hideous production mess where the melody seems to resemble James Bond crossing the river on crocodile backs - totterin', swayin', never staying in one place, never recognizable or memorable, switching from a bit of guitar here to a bit of synth there, often just leaving it to the basics of the rhythm section and Suzie's wailing. The guitar's use now is limited to atmospherics - together with the keyboards, bass, backing vocals, and front vocals.

And I've pretty much had my share of the atmospherics already, not to mention that it'll take me a while to understand what is there to be found on this record in terms of atmosphere that can't be found on early Eighties Cure records. Cure records? Wait a minute! It's all coming back to me now... isn't Robert Smith supposed to be playing on this album? The main, if not only guitarist? Taking a break from the Cure and suchlike? Well now, you've got your answer for you: this is Siouxsie & The Banshees trying to sound like the Cure (not to be confounded with the Cure trying to sound like Siouxsie & The Banshees, which is a different story altogether). So if you thought the Cure had temporarily disbanded after Pornography, don't believe it - they just transmutated into banshees for a short while. Har har har. Little occultist humor there.

Well, anyway, to cut it short, the production sucks, the atmosphere is decent if you haven't heard any preceding Siouxsie or Cure record, and gets boring in about fifty seconds if you have, the songs are mostly hookless, and the lyrics are better left unopened (I confess to having looked at the beginning of 'Dazzle', and to prevent anybody from following in my sinful steps, I'll type it for you here: "Swallowing diamonds/A cutting throat/Your teeth when you grin/Reflecting beams on tombstones". There. Now please somebody from the IFPI or any other shitty copyright protecting organization out there, find my page and make me take these lyrics off it so I can no longer be tortured by this haunting horrific imagery).

So the actual rating is pretty merciful, in fact. Because I find their cover of 'Dear Prudence', even if it hardly fits in here anyway, kinda fun - and unlike 'Helter Skelter', they don't tamper with the original melody and actually preserve some of the original feel (well, at least it made me fondly remember The White Album). I also think that once the pompous intro to 'Dazzle' is over, there's some nice orchestra-guitar-bass interaction going out there. I think that 'We Hunger' is the catchiest song of the bunch, and I actually like how Siouxsie chants 'do you hunger for thiiiiiis...'. I think that 'Pointing Bone' isn't very good, but it's a nice revisiting of the musical thematics of early Siouxsie - fast, raving, and energetic, if overproduced like all the rest. Finally, I think that out of all their lengthy numbers, 'Blow The House Down' gotta be the best one, because there's so much going on in the song - tons of guitar overdubs (and is that a mandolin that carries the main melody or what?), percussion, weird handclapping, and Siouxsie chants just like Robert Smith probably taught her, in a slow emotionless majestic manner. It's the best Cure song that was never attributed to the Cure.

Overall, though, damn you Robert Smith, damn you. Make your desperate vein-slicing Cure records and leave your murky Gothic production to yourself. You have already managed to bottle despair and pessimism into a never-ending self-reproducting formula, now you're gonna sell it to your buddies... pretty cheap, too. Aw shucks, if you're into all the melodyless Goth stuff, you're certainly gonna love this record - but if you have space in your soul for both "classic" Siouxsie and, say, the Beach Boys, well... probably not, then.


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