Siouxsie and the Banshees had a good debut album under their belt, and now they had to get over that difficult second album that seems to be a stumbling block for many bands. They had to contend with a producer that didn't listen to them, and internal conflict that eventually made the band split in the middle of a tour. Given those facts, it's remarkable that they managed to get anything out at all, and it certainly helps show why this album isn't what we would expect from the Banshees.
It doesn't sound like a coherent attempt at putting an album together; more of a collection of ideas that might have made interesting album fillers. There is of course the fantastic 'Playground Twist' here, but it really isn't as good at what came before or after. Before was a band at the height of their powers, and after was a new band at the height of their powers; this is a band struggling to stay together.
OK, it's probably a little harsh to criticise for the experiemental nature of the album, as they are at least INTERESTING experiments. They tried to recapture the original 'Lords Prayer' by recording a jammed approximation of that infamous first gig, and what they have is one of the few examples that I can think of where a 'punk' band improvises, something that is usually left to the jazz or progressive rock genres.
The overall feel of this album is a dark, oppressive one, touching on subjects that we all like to shy away from like premature burial, spousal abuse and the futility of war. Critics like their 'dark' music to follow particular formulas, and I think this album was panned because it was experimental and dark, and they didn't follow the 'rules' of recording punk and new wave albums.
It's not that bad really, but the muddy production certainly makes it hard listening. They would achieve far better on the following albums, but this one was something of a drop in quality, yet still a good album.