The Best of Siouxsie and the Banshees is a decent look into the eclectic world of Siouxsie Sioux.
One of the band's masterworks, Juju sees Siouxsie and the Banshees operating in a squalid wall of sound dominated by tribal drums, swirling and piercing guitars, and Siouxsie Sioux's fractured art-attack vocals. If not for John McGeoch's marvelous high-pitched guitars, here as reminiscent of Joy Division as his own work in Magazine, the album would rank as the band's most gothic release. Siouxsie and company took things to an entirely new level of darkness on Juju, with the singer taking delight in sinister wordplay on the disturbing "Head Cut," creeping out listeners in the somewhat tongue-in-cheek "Halloween," and inspiring her bandmates to push their rhythmic witches brew to poisonous levels of toxicity.
Once Upon a Time: The Singles collects all ten of Siouxsie and the Banshees' A-sides spanning the years 1978-1981, with four songs otherwise unavailable on LP. It's a neat and accessible encapsulation of the group's early guitar-driven sound – a frosty, dissonant art punk that had a tremendous impact on the emerging goth rock scene. Unlike similarly forbidding work by such proto-goth contemporaries as Joy Division or the Cure, the early Banshees were tense and visceral; the darkness of the Once Upon a Time singles doesn't come from a sense of downcast gloom so much as it does from a jittery angst. Yet as challenging as the music is, it's also accessible enough for eight of these singles to have charted in the British Top 50. The melodies are angular and almost alien, yes, but oddly memorable once the listener has assimilated them. Starting shortly after the period covered by this collection, Siouxsie Sioux's icy detachment would be fused with an elegant romanticism and lusher, smoother arrangements.
Years after the breakup of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the three core members (Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin and Budgie) plus final Banshees guitarist Knox Chandler reunited for an abbreviated tour of the US and the UK in 2002. The Seven Year Itch is a live album composed of performances recorded at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on July 9 and 10, 2002. Released by Sanctuary Records in 2003 (in CD and DVD formats), both critics and fans praised the tour and album as the Banshees concentrated not on radio hits, but both popular and obscure B-sides and album tracks, many pulled from their early albums.
A Kiss in the Dreamhouse is the fifth studio album by British rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released on 5 November 1982 by Polydor Records. The record marked a change of musical direction, as the group used strings for the first time and experimented in the studio. Guitarist John McGeoch played more instruments, including recorder and piano. For Julian Marszalek of The Quietus, the release proved the Banshees to be "one of the great British psychedelic bands" of the post-punk era. In August 2007, it was ranked No. 1 on Mojo magazine's list of the best albums of 1982.
It would have been easy to write off the Banshees after the so-so Superstition, especially given the fact that it came after two uneven and disappointing albums (including the unnecessary covers collection Through the Looking Glass) Frankly, one of punk's most consistently invigorating acts seemed to have run their course. Sure enough, The Rapture proved to be their final recording. The surprise is that it's a career highpoint. The band deny, incidentally, that they knew this was to be their last album. Quite how Siouxsie, Severin and Budgie rediscovered their chemistry is a moot point - some credited producer John Cale, who worked on four tracks - but rediscover it they did. Despite nods to the band's past in the savage "Not Forgotten," the real gems are the sunny-side-up "O, Baby" (when did Siouxsie ever sound so genuinely happy?) and an 11-minute title-track that is as dazzling as anything they have ever performed. A classic case of leaving the scene on a high note, and a fitting final chapter from one of punk's finest, and most dignified, bands.
Tinderbox is the most musically up-tempo of all Siouxsie and the Banshees' albums and the most stylistically consistent one since The Scream and Join Hands. Most of the selections here feature urgently rocking drumming, drivingly aggressive yet fully textured guitar playing, and masterful, gutsy singing. The songs here are intense and unfold slowly, some starting off less vigorously but becoming hard rockers further along. There is of course a fine line between consistency and lack of contrast, but this album stays firmly on the side of the former; in fact, there's a certain satisfying feel to the musically uniform wall of sound here. The arrangements are less complex than in immediately preceding albums, but there are still plenty of subtle, effective production touches to be found throughout, most notably in the song "Cannons." "Cities in the Dust," a dance-pop number with a bell-like synthesizer opening section, stretches the above-mentioned boundaries the most, though typically bleak lyrics keep this selection from any sense of vacuity. This excellent release is well worth purchasing.
2009 digitally remastered digipak edition of this classic live Banshees album from 1986. Features sleevenotes by Paul Morley. 16 tracks. NTSC DVD Nocturne features the Banshees live in concert from the Royal Albert Hall (Sept 30th & Oct 1st 1983) , featuring Robert Smith from The Cure on guitar. Extras include the Channel 4 Documentary Play At Home (53 mins approx) and the Promotional Video for 'Dear Prudence'. Also features 'Melt' and 'Painted Bird' recorded live on The Old Grey Whistle Test (8 mins. approx). Available in Dolby Stereo, 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound.
55 tracks on 4 CDs, all digitally remastered, featuring 34 tracks on CD for the first time, including The Thorn EP. 76-page booklet with an introduction by Siouxsie and full track annotation by all 3 band members plus full lyrics for all B-sides, printed for the first time. Sleevenotes by Mark Paytress. Packaged in a three panel fold-out digi-sleeve housed in carboard slipcase.
Allmusic's David Cleary described it as a "strong record" with "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". Melody Maker's Paulo Hewitt also praised the album and qualified "Paradise Place" and "Skin" as "classic Banshee pieces. Hypnotic, relentless and incisive, both feature Steve Jones on guitar, revealing a hitherto unknown side of the (S)ex-Pistol"