|Siouxsie and The Banshees|
Years: 1976 - 1996; 2002
Styles: Alternative rock, Art Rock, New Wave, Pop Rock, Post Punk, Punk Rock
Siouxsie Sioux - Acoustic guitar , Bells, Effects [Droma-derian], Finger Cymbals, Melodica, Rhythm guitar, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1996; 2002)
Steven Severin - Bass Guitar, Drum Programming, Keyboards, Organ, Sitar, Synthesizer, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1996; 2002)
Marco Pirroni - Guitar (in band: 1976)
Sid Vicious - Drums (in band: 1976)
Peter Fenton - Guitar (in band: 1976 - 1977)
Kenny Morris - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1976 - 1979)
John McKay - Guitar, Saxophone (in band: 1977 - 1979)
Budgie - Bass Guitar, Drums, Harmonica, Keyboards, Marimba, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1979 - 1996; 2002)
Robert Smith - Guitar, Keyboards (in band: 1979; 1982 - 1984)
John McGeoch - 12 string guitar, Effects [Ellaphone], Farfisa organ, Guitar, Keyboards, Recorder, Saxophone, Sitar, Synthesizer (in band: 1980 - 1982)
John Valentine Carruthers - Guitar, Keyboards (in band: 1984 - 1987)
Martin McCarrick - Accordion, Cello, Dulcimer, Keyboards, Violin (in band: 1987 - 1995)
Jon Klein - Guitar (in band: 1987 - 1995)
Knox Chandler - Guitar (in band: 1995 - 1996; 2002)
Siouxsie and the Banshees were an influential rock band which formed in 1976 in London, England. Initially associated with the British punk rock scene, the band quickly evolved to create "a form of post-punk discord full of daring rhythmic and sonic experimentation". The Times cited Siouxsie and the Banshees as "one of the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era." After their split in 1996, Siouxsie and drummer Budgie continued to record music as The Creatures, a second band they had formed in the early 1980s. In 2004, Siouxsie began a solo career.
Their first single "Hong Kong Garden" reached the top ten in the UK in the summer of 1978. Their first album, "The Scream" (1978), is today considered as a classic. The NME wrote in its review : "The band sounds like some unique hybrid of the Velvet Underground mated with much of the ingenuity of "Tago Mago"-era" Can, if any parallel can be drawn…Certainly, the traditional three-piece sound has never been used in a more unorthodox fashion with such stunning results." Indeed, Switch placed them as pioneers of the post-punk bands.
After "Join Hands", guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris departed the Banshees, leaving the band at a crossroads. Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin elected to soldier on with ex-Slits drummer Budgie and two guitarists, ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones and John McGeoch of Magazine . Despite the personnel upheaval, the result is a surprisingly strong record: "Kaleidoscope". While a number of the songs here are still dark-hued and feature bleak lyrics, they are made very palatable by extraordinarily imaginative production values featuring intricate synthesizer-flecked arrangements; psychedelic touches in "Christine," spaceship synthesizer swoops in "Tenant," and rhythmic camera clicks in "Red Light" all enliven their respective songs.
Sound quality here is lighter and much clearer than on previous releases. Sioux's singing shows noticeable improvement here, still tuneless at times but also exhibiting more range and subtlety than previously. The song "Hybrid," a Joy Division-style number, shows her vocals running the gamut from primitive to inspired. Other highlights include the galloping, vibrant up-tempo number "Skin," the spooky and atmospheric "Lunar Camel," the medium-tempo rocker "Trophy," and the punky vocalise "Clockface." "Kaleidoscope" was a make-or-break album for Siouxsie and the Banshees, and happily the band came through strongly.
John McGeoch played on the three following albums. "Kaleidoscope" (1980), including "Happy House" and "Christine", showed a brand new musical departure with liquid guitars and atmospheric synthesizers : this eclectic record was a success and reached the top 5 in the national UK charts. One year later in 1981, "Juju" with the vibrant "Spellbound", was another success.
The last session McGeoch recorded with the band was for the "Slowdive" single from the 1982's classic "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse". The British press greeted this album enthusiastically. The NME finished its review with this sentence : "I promise. This music will take your breath away." But McGeoch, worn by the recording process of these songs, was hospitalized on his return from a promotional trip to Madrid.
In late 1982, McGeoch was replaced by Robert Smith (from The Cure) : Smith became a full-time member between 1982 and 1984. He contributed to the classic live album and DVD "Nocturne" (1983) and to the studio album "Hyaena" (1984) as co-composer.
Broadening the eclectically experimental landscape of 1982's "Kiss in the Dream House" with the occasional string arrangement and a spacious sound mix, Siouxsie and the Banshees' Geffen debut nicely bridges the gap between the band's handful of more-punk-than-pop early releases and their run of new wave, radio-friendly hits from the late '80s and early '90s.
And though echoes of classic albums like "Kaleidoscope" and "JuJu" are heard in dark and menacing tracks such as "Bring Me the Head of the Preacher Man" and "Blow Your House Down," the emphasis here is on layered arrangements and pop tunes disguised as art-house production numbers ("Dazzle"); tasteful horn and keyboard parts expand the group's guitar-dominated sound and provide Siouxsie with an airy and dreamlike backdrop in which to fully display her considerable vocal talents. Siouxsie further refines things by also including a generous share of fleet and gothic-tinged pop numbers like "Belladonna," "Running Town," and the band's hit cover of "Dear Prudence." Anchored by the signature sound of Steven Severin's guitar-like bass and Budgie's exotically adept percussion work, "Hyaena" qualifies as one of Siouxsie and the Banshees' finest moments.
Guitarist John Valentine Carruthers from Clock DVA replaced Smith in May 1984. He played on the successful "Tinderbox" album (1986). The covers album "Through The Looking Glass" (1987) with "This Wheel's On Fire", allowed the band to broaden their sound.
Following a lengthy break, the rest of the band recruited another new guitarist Jon Klein (Specimen) and the multi-instrumentalist McCarrick to record "Peepshow" (1988). The hit-single "Peek-A-Boo" was considered as avant-garde with its abrasive sounds.
After the most impressive tour of their career, the band stopped for a while and the second band of Siouxsie and Budgie The Creatures reappeared with another album, the critically acclaimed "Boomerang" (1989). One of the most languorous songs from this record, "Killing Time", was covered live by Jeff Buckley a few years later.
In 1991, the Banshees returned with the single, "Kiss Them For Me", mixing Beatles strings over a dance rhythm. This single peaked in the U.S. singles charts at number 23, allowing them to reach a new audience. Melody Maker praised the last two studio albums "Superstition" (1991) and "The Rapture" (1995- partially produced by John Cale) including a swansong called Forever.
Morrissey recorded a duet with Siouxsie called "Interlude". This one-off single was published under the banner of the two artists names.
After the split of the band in 1996, the box set, "Downside Up", was released, compiling 51 unreleased B-sides and the highly praised out-of-print "The Thorn" mini LP. Most of these numbers like "Something Wicked (This Way Comes)" and "Red Over White" are considered by fans as classics.
After carried on recording as The Creatures, Siouxsie released her first solo album "Mantaray" in 2007 : the record was hailed by both Pitchfork and Mojo.
1. Source: https://www.last.fm/music/Siouxsie+and+the+Banshees
2. All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 1014 - David Cleary
3, All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 1015 - Stephen Cook
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