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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 318 - Siouxsie and The Banshees (#3)

 The Scream - Siouxsie and The Banshees
Produced by Steve Lilywhite
Released 13th November 1978
UK Chart #12

Siouxsie and The Banshees
    Siouxsie Sioux – vocals
    Steven Severin – bass guitar
    John McKay – guitars, saxophone
    Kenny Morris – drums, percussion 

Singles on The Scream
One of the things that's actually quite striking about The Scream is the absence of the Debut Single, Hong Kong Garden. The other thing that is very clear from the album is that there isn't actually even a future single on it! Well, that's sort of not so true because Metal Postcard was released as a single in West Germany in June 1979 with a German vocal and entitled Mittageisen and released in the UK at the end of September with the flip side Love In A Void (it would reach #47 in the charts in the UK). In France and the UK it was released as a Double A-Side.

Love In A Void appeared on The Once Upon A Time/ The Singles album (1981) and also on the 2006 Deluxe Editon of Join Hands, whilst Mittageisen wouldn't turn up on an album until the Downside Up Boxset of 2004.

Many of us would have bought the single on Import as Polydor did not release it for another couple of months after the initial release in West Germany.

A-Side: Mittageisen

A-Side: Love In A Void

The A-Sides of the first two Siouxsie and The Banshees singles were added to the 1989 CD Reissue. They were both also included on the bonus disc of the 2005 The Scream Remastered Deluxe Edition. The B-sides did not appear on an album until Downside Up Boxset in 2004.

Released 18th August 1978
UK Chart #7

Released 23rd March 1979
UK Chart #24


Released 23rd October 2006

Six of the songs that form The Scream, the Debut Album from Siouxsie and The Banshees, had previously been heard on two sessions for John Peel on BBC Radio One prior to the band signing to any record label (29/11/77: Mirage, Metal Postcard, Suburban Relapse, 6/2/78: Overground, Carcass and Helter Skelter). 

The getting signed part was important especially as the band wanted creative control and Polydor Records gave them just that. The decision to not include the debut single or the follow-up was an interesting one and also to not necessarily have a possible "future single" included must have caused Polydor some anxiety.

The Scream is a fantastic Debut from the band and it immediately showed that they were more than prepared to move beyond the confines of "Punk" as it had been defined by the music press and the media. Along with the likes of Joy Divison and Magazine, Siouxsie and The Banshees were clearly blazing a trail for a new and vital Post-Punk sound.

There was a lot of expectation about the album prior to release and it didn't disappoint, though I have to say that I do favour more the Peel Session versions of some of the songs! The reviews were pretty good with Sounds saying it was The Debut Album of the Year and their writer Peter Silverton  gave it five out five stars in his review. Record Mirror also gave it five stars with Chris Westwood saying: The Scream "points to the future, real music for the new age... It is vital, it's moving. It's a ... landmark." Ian Birch of Melody Maker was also postive whilst noting that the album's texture was not unlike that of Wire or Pere Ubu

Kris Needs of ZigZag said, "I can't think of another group who could have made an LP so uncompromising, powerful and disturbing, yet so captivating and enjoyable... It is certainly a special classic to join milestones like Diamond Dogs (Bowie), Roxy Music's first and Lou Reed's Berlin. This is music of such strength and vision that you just can't not be moved by the time they swing into the final climactic passage of 'Switch', the closing track." Needs qualified the sound as "huge, sometimes awe-inspiring" and commented that drummer Morris created "one of the best drum sounds I've ever heard – the deep echo and floor-shuddering mix accentuating his muted Glitter Band stomp"

Adam Sweeting began his review by saying, "This is a chilling, intense masterpiece"

Paul Morley writing for the Christmas issue of the NME in December 1978 said, "It is easy to gain attention by doing something which is crudely obviously out of the ordinary, but the Banshees have avoided such futile superficialities: it is innovation, not revolution, not a destruction but new building. It has grown out of rock – Velvets, Station to Station, Bolan".

I loved that line by Morley "it is innovation not revoultion, not a destruction but new building". When you play this album and then listen to say, Give 'em Enough Rope by The Clash, which was released around the same time you can really see just how different the sound of "Punk" was in those days and exactly where it was going to go!


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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