Siouxsie and The Banshees - The Scream - Review
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critics' view

With the confrontational explosion of British Punk anything now seemed possible, and the Banshees, commanded by Siouxsie, were certainly in tune with this philosophy. Theirs was an adventure beyond Punk, headlong into a bleak, industrial wasteland, with a sound as scathing as it was passionate. At the time of release in November ’78 they were: Siouxsie Sioux (21, vocals); Steven Severin (23, bass guitar); John McKay (guitars, saxophone) and Kenny Morris (21, drums, percussion). The long-player was in the shops just as the classic non-album single, “Hong Kong Garden”, had set them up as the next big thing, having ascended mightily into the Top 10 of the UK Pop Charts.

Creating tension right from the start, the uncompromising and disconcerting “Pure” sets an unfriendly tone, distant with sacrificial wails, broken beats and dead guitars. “Jigsaw Feeling” immediately offers relief, albeit angrily. The mood is set; it’s disconnected. We are now in a Post-Punk landscape, 90 degrees more thoughtful. The excellent “Overground” shows just why they were beloved by a hard-core fan base; on a restless and rolling rhythm they let it be known there will be no compromise in their sound, they will not be normalized: “Overground from abnormality, Overboard for identity, Overground for normality, Overboard for identity”. A surprising but nonetheless well-done cover of “Helter Skelter” closes side 1, and this seems like good news; they will partake in music history, but on their own terms.

The unique brilliance of the band is then absolutely driven home with the dynamic one-two which opens up side 2, namely the anthemic and upbeat “Mirage” and the robotic mid-tempo riffage of “Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)”. This band are excellent but, ultimately, it’s the detached intensity of Siouxsie Sioux which truly steals the spotlight. A new bona-fide superstar is born.

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