Siouxsie and the Banshees formed in London back in 1976, initially associated with the UK punk-rock scene, though soon evolving to become one of the most prolific bands of the then emerging post-punk scene. Fronted by the inimitable Siouxsie Sioux, the band are distingushed by their uncompromising, daring rhymic, discordant sound mixed with components of pop, goth and avant-garde.
Exciting news for fans both old and new, as Siouxie and the Banshees reissue their last four studio albums, all as remastered packages with bonus tracks. ‘Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Peepshow’, ‘Superstition’ and ‘The Rapture’ will be released on October 13th on Polydor / Universal Music Catalogue. These releases cover a period which saw a period of bold experimentation and musical exploration coinciding with the Banshees getting the notice they truly deserved in the USA, whilst retaining the feverish devotion of their fans at home.
Order a copy here.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (1987)
Inspired by Bowie’s ‘Pin Ups’, ‘Through The Looking Glass’ featured bold re-imaginings of songs that had shaken band members’ respective worlds during childhood and teenage years. The chosen covers ranged from Roxy Music's ‘Sea Breezes’ to John Cale’s "Gun" to Billie Holiday’s sorrowful touchstone ‘Strange Fruit’. The album also featured two hit singles ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ (based on the Julie Driscoll cover of the Dylan song) and Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger’. Bonus tracks include two remixes of the singles, an outtake track and the self-penned, stand-alone single ‘Song From the Edge of the World’.
‘Peepshow’ marked both the Banshees first album as a quintet and the moment where they created their most certifiably diverse long-player to date – together it amounted to nothing less than the shock of invincibility. The album was both a critical and a commercial success in the US and UK and when the first single, the totally unpigeonholable ‘Peek-A-Boo’, appeared in July 1988 it was met with near universal acclaim.
For their tenth album, they surprised everyone by recruiting Stephen Hague as producer. Hague, best known for his work with O.M.D. and Pet Shop Boys was the unlikeliest of choices to collaborate with a group known for imbuing their rhythms and melodies with edgy disorder. The result was an enthralling collection of songs that saw the Banshees play with new textures and reinvent themselves all over again. This towering album sounded and still sounds like their greatest leap forward. ‘Superstition’ once again underlined that Siouxsie & The Banshees were spinning in a world of their own making, a seismic jolt in the void, a group to treasure.
‘Kiss Them For Me’ is classic Banshees, unearthing its ripe sensuality in the darkest of terrains. When released as a single in May 1991, opinion was sharply divided between pure devotion and utter confusion. When unveiled at that year’s Lollapalooza travelling festival,’ Kiss Them For Me’ caught the moment perfectly and went on to become their biggest US hit single to date. The following year, Tim Burton personally requested a Banshees song for his film, ‘Batman Returns’. The resulting classic ‘Face To Face’ is included here as a bonus track.
THE RAPTURE (1995)
Of all the Banshees albums, their final ‘The Rapture’ is their most wildly schizophrenic and arguably their most ambitious. Half of the album was produced by Velvet Underground alumnus and art rock pioneer John Cale, while the band took control of the rest. The bonus tracks feature a previously unreleased track called FGM, plus the hitherto unavailable, full length version of ‘New Skin’, recorded for the Showgirls soundtrack
Throughout the album, the Banshees were a group at their most creatively fecund, still delighting in their placelessness, venturing into the only area where they ever felt safe: the realm of unreason. Even as they were unknowingly winding down the curtain, they were tantalizingly hinting at entirely new pastures, unchartered amusement parks of the mind.
‘The Rapture’ proved to be their swansong yet remains a dramatic transformation, ensuring that they finished on a dizzying high.
From ‘The Scream’ to ‘The Rapture’ in twenty expansive, adventurous years. Not bad going for a group who only formed for a night.