Reviews & Recommendations
They say follow your heart,
follow it through,
but how can you?
When it's split in two.
-- Face to Face
Siouxsie and the Banshees
(1976- 1996)
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Artist Listing: A - F G - R S - Z
Line-up and milestones:
1976: Siouxsie and the Banshees formed by Siouxsie Sioux (born Susan Janet Ballion), bassist Steve Severin, guitarist Marco Pirroni (who later joined Adam and the Ants) and drummer Sid Vicious (who later joined The Sex Pistols). Drummer Kenny Morris replaces Vicious by the end of the year.
1977: Guitarist Pete Fenton replaces Pirroni.
1978: Guitarist John McKay replaces Fenton. The band releases its first full-length album "The Scream".
1979: Release of their second and weakest album "Join Hands". Mid-touring for the album, Morris and McKay call it quits. The Cure's Robert Smith fills in the void left by McKay, and drummer Budgie (who sticks with the band for the rest of their career) replaces Morris.
1980: Guitarists John McGeogh and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) join the band and they release their third album "Kaleidoscope" including the hit single Happy House.
1981: 4th album "JuJu" and a collection of singles "Once Upon a Time". Siouxsie and Budgie form their side-project The Creatures.
1982: 5th album "Kiss in the Dreamhouse"
1983: "Nocturne" a live double LP.
1984 : John Carruthers replaces McGeogh, and the studio album "Hyaena" is released.
1986: Release of "Tinderbox" including the smashing hit Cities in Dust.
1987: an all-cover album "Through the Looking Glass".
1988: Carruthers is replaced by Jon Klein on guitars, and the brilliant keyboardist Martin McCarrick joins the band. The new formation releases "Peep-Show", probably their best performing album commercially, including the hit single Peek-a-Boo.
1991: Siouxsie and Budgie get married. The band releases another critically acclaimed record "Superstitious".
1992: "Twice Upon a Time", the follow up singles collection to "Once Upon a Time", spanning '82 to '92, is released.
1995: Siouxsie and the Banshees' last studio album, "The Rapture", crowns a 20 year long remarkable and most influencial existence.
1996: Siouxsie and Budgie split the band and decide to concentrate on their side-project The Creatures.
-- Said Sukkarieh,, 8/01

"Growing out of the London punk scene, Siouxsie and the Banshees soon began to experiment in numerous styles of music, forming a very avant-garde sound. With a style varied and ethereal, the Banshees combine postpunk sounds with pop, psychedelia and the sound of lighter Gothic bands such as the Cure. With layered musical arrangements playing off Siouxsie Sioux's striking voice, the Banshees carved themselves a spot in the British indie rock scene. "

 Recommended Siouxsie and the Banshees DVDs::

Released in April 2006.
Fully remastered in 5.1 DTS. It includes the entire 'Nocturne' performances (recorded at two shows at Royal Albert Hall on September 30 and October 1 1983, and featuring Robert Smith on Guitar), the rare 'Play at Home' TV special that was broadcasted years ago, featuring the music of The Creatures, The Glove, and of course, Siouxsie & The Banshees, as well as the video clip of Siouxsie's Dear Prudence cover, and two television appearances, featuring the performances of Melt and Painted Bird.

 Siouxsie & the Banshees Discography - Album / CD Reviews

***1978: The Scream audio!

"After the pop-punk effervescence of their first UK Top 10 hit, “Hong Kong Garden”, their sound was captured perfectly on the splendid THE SCREAM (1978), which chewed up bleak visions of urban collapse in brilliantly attitudinous, brooding music. The Banshees’ total rewiring of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” -- which closed the album -- was a classic piece of punk subversion. Acclaim and sales followed."
-- Rough Guides, via

**1979: Join Hands audio!
"(...) The songs on this platter are almost uniformly grim, with dragging tempos, bleak lyrics, long and wandering free-form structures, static and often unfocused harmony, and thick, colorless arrangements. Siouxsie Sioux is not in her best vocal form here; much of her singing lacks punch and fire."
-- David Cleary, AMG

***½ 1980: Kaleidoscope audio!
"(...) Siouxsie's trademark swoop and soaring vocals can be found throughout the LP, and the impending neuroses imbues the music with a proper sense of dread. Though Kaleidoscope plays around with unusual arrangements, rhythms and instrumentations, it is successful. Side one's 'Luna Camel' is a slow, droning piece sung to the accompaniment of a synthesizer and rhythm box that weaves an hypnotic spell on the listener. 'Red Light,' another moody synthesizer tune, offers Siouxsie's opinion of nude female models, and the album's finale, 'Skin,' relates Siouxsie's aversion to people who wear clothing made of animal skins. Siouxsie and the Banshees preach the ugly truth to all who'll listen. And all should listen to Kaleidoscope. "
-- College Media, Inc., via CDnow

***¾ 1981: Juju audio!
"(...) There are more psychedelics being used, courtesy of guitarist John McGeoch's trembling, echoing tones, the rhythm section is sturdy without being pounding, and Sioux is versatile and powerful on vocals. The songs here exude a brooding sense, although Sioux prefers mysterious, often ethereal lyrics that don't make much sense on the surface. It all comes together remarkably, and even if the American public isn't ready for it, it's some of the year's most interesting music. "
-- College Media, Inc., via CDnow

***¾ 1981: Once Upon a Time audio!
A collection of singles spanning chronologically the '78 to '81 era.

***¾ 1982: Kiss in the DreamHouse audio!
"For the Banshees, A Kiss In The Dreamhouse would be the first album to wholely play down, if not entierly rid itself of the trademark top heavy power chords and full drum sound, and treated us to such sounds heard only previously on the 'Fireworks' single. A hint of what was next to come. 'Obsession' and 'Slowdive' feature a trio of strings that can best be described as horrificly appropriate. 'She's A Carnival' features a calliope organ, in 'Green Fingers' a recorder, tape loops in 'Circle,' mandolin-styled guitar in 'Melt!', not to mention organ, hamonica, chimes, bells and other such doo-dads throughout. The subject matter of passion and sex dominate of course, and I've often wondered if 'Melt!' is about AIDS; if so, it most certainly is the first song to ever address the issue."

** *¾ 1983: Nocturne audio!
This is an excellent collection of live performed songs spanning the early years of Siouxsie and the Banshees.

***½ 1984: Hyaena audio!
"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. (...) Hyaena qualifies as one of Siouxsie & the Banshees' finest moments."
-- Stephen Cook, AMG

****¼ 1986: Tinderbox audio!
"Tinderbox is arguably Siouxsie and the Banshees' most intense release of their career. Faster beats, aggressive guitars, and an overall cohesive record both lyrically and musically. Tinderbox offers plenty of classics and SATB signature songs, like Cities in Dust, Candyman and 92 Degrees, to name a few. "
-- Said Sukkarieh,, 08/01

***¾ 1987: Through The Looking Glass audio!
Cover songs of SATB's favorite tunes:

1- This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us - Sparks
2- Hall of Mirrors - Kraftwerk
3- Trust in Me - Disney's JungleBook (performed by Sterling Holloway)
4- This Wheel's on Fire - Bob Dylan
5- Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
6- You're Lost Little Girl - The Doors
7- The Passenger - Iggy Pop
8- Gun - John Cale
9- Sea Breezes - Roxy Music
10- Little Johnny Jewel - Television

***¾1988: Peep Show audio!
"Peepshow is the most fully realized, both musically and thematically, of the Banshees' many albums and therefore unmatched. Siouxsie's voice is at it's best, sensuous at times, sometimes even loving, and yet aggressive when necessary. Musicianship is at a real highpoint with all the players working seamlessly together. The production is tight throughout and all of the songs are fresh and inspired. (...) With Peepshow, Siouxsie and Company [maddened] old fans, confounded the pundits and released a brilliant work full of energy, playfulness and fantasy."
-- music fan from Denver, CO,

***¾ 1991: Superstition audio!
"(...) Superstition is a dark and erotic escapade that creeps and crawls through various degrees of tension, unnerving haunts and gleaming spiritualism, and they never seem to lose sight of the direction they're heading toward, always moving forward. All their outside work-Sioux and Budgie doubling as the Creatures and keyboardist Martin McCarrick working on the latest This Mortal Coil project-seems to draw them closer together, as Superstition dazzles with a passion and colorfulness that has been the Banshee trademark since their 1978 recorded debut."
-- College Media, Inc., via CDnow

** **1992: Twice Upon a Time audio!
"This is a testament to one of the better, but highly underrated, bands of all time. The sheer dissonance of the 16 selections in this album combined with the haunting lyrics and emotionally charged melodies is enough to give one exquisitely pleasant nightmares. A listening at the surface is not enough to completely grasp the nature of the mystique that Siouxsie Sioux and her band have wrapped around themselves. The album contains songs like Fireworks, Candyman, Peek-a-boo, Face to Face, Kiss Them for Me, and a twisted gothic interpretation of the Beatles' Dear Prudence."
-- Ram Samudrala,

***1995: The Rapture
"It has been a long road for for this Sioux, since the days the Sex Pistols opened for them. The Banshees seem to follow the pattern of a sinusoidal curve with their albums---intermingling superbly crafted releases with some pretty lame work at times. Rapture stands out on a peak, however. The album is less guitar-oriented than I'd like it to be, but definitely dark and almost too serious at times. It fits very well in continuing the image that Siouxsie Sioux has built up around her. The aura of the mysterious and the painful pervades throughout this album, lyrically and musically. There is a very limited amount of experimentation in this album, mainly observable in the 14-minute faster-paced title track where she asks "How can love remain the same unchained?" Although the age is telling on Sioux's looks and voice, the Banshees are still shining brightly long after most of the 70s punk/goth acts have burned out."
-- Ram Samudrala,

2003: Seven Year Itch (live)audio!
"After a seven year absence (hence the title), Siouxsie and her Banshees reformed (a bit hypocritical after lambasting the Sex Pistols for doing the same a few years earlier, those stock market investments must have done badly) and played a series of gigs during the Autumn of 2002. This 'new' release is taken from two of the concerts performed at The Shepherd's Bush Empire, London. As a live album it's a bit of a mixed bag. The set starts with a nice surprise, three tracks from the band's stunning debut album, The Scream. The opening track Pure, with it's haunting guitars announces the arrival of the band, Siouxsie soon follows with her customary melodic wailing for what is essentially an instrumental track. As on the studio album, the next song is Jigsaw Feeling, the raw guitar chords and sparse drum patterns complementing the flat, shrill vocals. Unfortunately, Siouxsie's voice has aged and she can't quite hit those staccato high points. This is disappointing and one of the main negative points about this release. Nonetheless, the guitars and drums are excellent and it's good to hear these classics performed with genuine gusto. By the time of the next song, Metal Postcard, Siouxsie's voice has warmed up a bit and the some of the necessary shrillness for these early numbers is found.

After a shaky start, Siouxsie's voice settles down and she manages to belt out the vocals in her own imitable style. However, a bewilderingly unfocused set list denies this release anything approaching classic status. "
-- Mark Williams, Noise Culture

** *½ 2007: Siouxsie (solo) - Mantaray
Tracklisting: 1. Into A Swan 2. About To Happen 3. Here Comes That Day 4. Loveless 5. If It Doesn't Kill You 6. One Mile Below 7. Drone Zone 8. Sea Of Tranquility 9. They Follow You 10. Heaven And Alchemy

"The former Susan Ballion has had a lot to deal with lately: her 50th birthday, the collapse of her bands the Banshees and Creatures, and divorce from Budgie, drummer with both groups. However, her first solo album after 30 years in the business is a mostly uplifting affair summed up by Into a Swan's confident, stomping beats and lines such as: 'I feel a force I've never felt before.' Indeed, Sioux has never sounded quite like this, a strutting cross between her old self, Shirley Bassey, Marlene Dietrich and Sioux fan PJ Harvey. There are jagged rock riffs, timps and dancefloor beats. Lyrically, Mantaray divides between anti-suburban rants about 'manicured lawns' that echo her days in punk's Bromley contingent and more emotional outpourings. Something for everybody, then."
-- Dave Simpson, The Guardian, 8/07

Recommended Links:

Siouxsie & the Banshees site
Mital-U: Siouxsie & the Banshees

Siouxsie / The Creatures official homepage
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The Creatures | X-Mal Deutschland | Cocteau Twins | Faith & the Muse | Joy Division | Skeletal Family | Ghost Dance | The Cure | Switchblade Symphony| Inkubus Sukkubus

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