13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The short intro Poppy Day sets the gothic tone for their 2nd album, extending the boundaries of The Banshees' unique punk strain. Here they prove that slow, melodic songs can be equally effective in creating a sense of menace. Playground Twist is classic early Siouxsie, but it gets even better on Mother/Oh Mein Papa, a successful experiment where the juxtaposed words of the lullaby medley create a sinister feel by the eerie buildup of the music. And it ends in a bang with The Lord's Prayer medley which includes phrases of "O Claire de la Lune/Mon ami Pierrot," "Tomorrow belongs to me" (from Cabaret) and sundry other sources. Far more diversified than their debut album, therefore a worthy follow-up, and perhaps one of their more underrated works.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2002
This album is now over 20 years old, but I still love listening to it. Ironically, it is the least favorite for most Banshee fans, and most 'serious' critics wrote it off without a second thought. To me it sums up early Banshee style and sound, pre split-up, with McKay's blistering guitar on 'Playground Twist' (he really is a unique and competent guitarist), and Morris's thundering drum beats echoing everywhere. However it is Siouxsie's great vocals, which soar with power on tracks like 'Premature Burial' and 'Regal Zone' which embellishes this album with such vital aggression and originality. This was released before the term 'gothic' was so ubiquitous in music, yet it is a precursor to that musical style which still influences bands today.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2004
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.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2003
Siouxsie is just one of those rare chicks with her head screwed on right. She never let Steve Severin get the better of her, and proves it on this masterpiece of fractious tunes. Mother's Prayer is not only an attack on the male-orientated world, but lets Steve fly into improvisation. She sings with her icy wind chill dulcetry, and, then in true punk spirit, picks you up and throws you to her bitter breeze, just so's you can really see her point of view. Cynical (Regal Zone), critical (Poppy Day), and marmalising (Placebo Effect), this leaves you wondering why you don't just leave your life, and live on a commune instead. Bravo madame.