on 6 October 2005
For those of us Siouxsie-philes eager for remastered Banshees albums the wait is over with the release of this splendid deluxe edition of the classic debut album. The sound certainly brings out the magnificent rhythmn section of the original band, especially the drums which was an important element in the Banshees early recordings; just listen to "Mittageisen", "Switch" and "Jigsaw Feeling". The bonus disc is the one which Banshees fans have been waiting for and it doesn't disappoint as it includes early live favourite and previously unreleased "Make Up To Break Up", and the Peel Session(and better) version of "Love In A Void" It's great to hear the early versions of Banshees songs which have an edge which the official versions lack. Included here are two John Peel sessions which are absolutely indispensable. Hong Kong Garden is particularly worthwhile since it is a restrained and rougher version compared to the official release. Also included are four early demos of The Scream album recorded at Pathway studios. These aren't as good as the Peel sessions, the sound is too muddy, but what is of interest is an early version of the single "The Staircase Mystery" which, sound apart, is certainly a rockier take than the lacklustre single release. The bonus disc is really a must have for any Banshees afficianado and fills in the gap between early contract-less Banshees and what was to become their first album proper. Also included are the original singles versions of "Hong Kong Garden" and "The Staircase Mystery." As for the main album itself, it still sounds exceptional and "Mirage" remains one of the great Siouxsie songs, and one in which the bridge between punk and pop was crossed. The Scream still has punk credentials in tracks like "Carcass" and "Nicotine Stain" but it's also clear that the Banshees had tired of the formula and were keen to explore other musical landscapes. Listen to the six minutes of "Switch" which has more in common with the Velvets than the Pistols, and "Suburban Relapse" a response and natural successor to Roxy's "In Every Dream home A Heartache." This album is a perfect soundtrack to J.G.Ballard novels and to a late 70s Britain in the grip of an economic recession and a huge cultural shift. Post Punk and Industrial music began with The Scream; it's an important album.
on 24 March 2000
Whilst Siouxsie was one of the original punks, being part of the "Bromley Contingent" and appearing with the 'Pistols during a TV interview, her band were one of the last from the scene, to be signed, following an intensive and long running "sign the Banshees..." graffitti campaign by disgruntled fans.
Despite having to wait to unleash their music, the ultimate results were not in any way diminished by this lapse of time. In fact, this album is an absolutely groundbreaking collection of music, that went on to influence the whole alternative movement throughout the 80's and 90's.
"The Scream " opens with the slow burning and rolling bass lines of "Pure". An uneasy nightmarish atmosphere, is splintered by fractured high frequency guitar sounds. Initial signs of the tribal beats that became the "Banshees" trade mark are also apparent.
Every one of the 10-tracks on here is a triumph, from the reelings of "Jigsaw Feeling" to the slow overtures of "Overground". Siouxsie chants and barks over the (then) futuristically twisted and bent slant on New Wave - part arthouse and part street culture, The Banshees could almost lay claim to having invented "the loop", evidence of which is found on the repeating guitar phrase on "Metal Postcard".
This album is a piece of history and firm evidence of the effect that the late 70's had on modern music and culture. Play this album today and it is still relevant and timeless.
- Soviet Union
on 5 October 2005
Aah...this conjures up the great night when John Peel played "The Scream" in its entirely, and shocked those of us who had only just heard the "Hong Kong Garden" with a mighty "What was THAT !!!". However by the time virtually all of "The Scream" appeared in that year's Festive Fifty we had been bent forever to Siouxsie's iron will. This album was the first of many to teach me that sometimes you may not like or understand an album first time, but that sometimes it is you that must change.
I bought the single disc version just there, not knowing about this 2-CD set was on the way. Does the "The Scream" still cut it ? Oh yes...surprisingly fresh and young-sounding and it can still roar. Not everything works, but its best things. "Jigsaw Feeling", "Mirage" and the Banshees take on "Helter Skelter" are still the dogs'.
However, this "Deluxe" edition has missed the odd trick.
It is great to have the Peel Sessions out there again, reminding us of when The Banshees were the most famous unsigned band in the UK way into 1978. But where is the German version of "Mittageisen", even fiercer than the English version, and "Voices", the flip of "Hong Kong Garden", fondly remembered by me for completely baffling my friends, let alone my parents, and much beloved of pub landlords who would keep it on their jukeboxes for years afterwards in order to drive out the punters at closing time. Though they made some great things in later years, especially the singles, they never matched the power of this.
Will I be rushing to buy this set, despite this? Just try and stop me.. Hopefully the liner notes will tell us what became of John McKay and Kenny Morris, who walked out the band after a fight in Aberdeen, never to be seen again...
An album based on the boring bleakness of outer London emptiness; the suburban relapse, love in a void, make up or break up, nicotine stain, that jigsaw feeling. Siouxsie announced no more cover up, instead it was Munch's "The Scream". Conveying the vacuity of deadened relationships withering under emotional starvation, outwardly the smile to neighbours, inward self hatred. Hong Kong Garden pointed pop was the first introduction, underneath this iceberg was something more lethal.
The Scream exposed the land of white flight; staunchly conservative Bromley differentiates itself from inner Boroughs by its cleansing policies. The Clash proclaimed the political, the Pistols nihilism, the Ants sexual fantasy whilst the Banshees vacuity.
Musical dissonance of no rules follows its own logic. Chaos was the first live appearance. This album shows how dedication and belief can throw up a masterwerk through application and zeal. Thrown out with the chintz were rnb Clash and Pistols rifts. Instead to evoke the Scream, a clash of ringing chords seemingly played out of tune created new resonating forms of harmonics. Ideas brimming from a febrile intelligence; Metal Postcard introduced Heartfield to a new generation., Helter Skelter, the darker side of the Beatles. Jigsaw Feeling mental health oscillations.
Siouxsie's vocals harried and dominating, became a musical counterpoint to the rosy cheeked, pearl bedecked, collar up, prim and proper 80's. Helter Skelter, McCartney's finest moment was taken for a ride. It fitted into the Scream, more than the White album, as Siouxsie connected to the closing walls of suffocation with the need to open the windows and let Charlie out for a stretch.
She portrayed glamour and sex, leather, stilletos, thigh highs, mini skirts and thick black eyeliner, female Bowie iconograhy. She provided the template for peacocks, the confidence to strut the stage, initiating an aesthetic revolt.
Switch, the final ending, a song of no redemption, the antidote to Location Location, the frigidity defrosting under her icy gaze only to lie and twitch, too late to Switch.
on 2 June 2006
I've waited for the first review, because I wondered whether it was my sound system at fault. It's also been a long time since I listened to the vinyl version, because I've been waiting for this to be remastered before buying. I bought the 1st 4 Siouxie albums and fortunately only the Scream has problems - the mixing is dreadful, you have to put it on a very low volume or the vocals and guitar distort.
The artists in particular must be gutted. They should insist that the work be re-released and exchanged.
HELP - I want to own this work, which is brilliant. Can someone advise as to which version I should buy? Does the previous release have the same problems?
on 1 June 2006
I don't know if I got mine from a bad batch but the sound quality is appaling!
The levels are far too high and this makes a layer of distortion throughout the entire CD!
on 14 July 2011
Released in 1978, this was the Banshee's first outing and, like their second album, it really doesn't fit neatly into the can't play-thrashy-rocky-protesty punk archetype. The opening wail of Pure sets an eerie tone that comes and goes throughout this supremely competent and highly distinctive album. Jigsaw Feeling adds frenetic urgency to the affair and, for me, Mirage stands out as a a much more "typical" girl-punk anthem with an intimate seam that had an electric effect on this listener as a teenager and still does so many years later.
My favourite track has to be the cover of the Beatles' Helter Skelter which seems, in this manifestation, to owe more to Manson than McCartney.
Overall it's a more commercial album than its successor, an album that I prefer, but only just. It's also interesting to note just how much S&TB influenced later acts including Toyah and Hazel O'Connor. Although purists will certainly froth at the mention of such callow pretenders and fakes in the same breath as the Bashees, /this/ is where it all started!
"My limbs are like palm trees swaying in the breeze, my body's an oasis to drink from as you please.
Siouxsie & the Banshees' debut LP The Scream seems to me a record that has been a bit overlooked- the Banshees had been around since the inception of punk (Sioux & Severin were with the Pistols on that classic Grundy-interview). Their performance of The Lords Prayer with Marco Perroni and Sid Vicious remains a potent-punk myth; afterwards the line-up changed when John Mckay (Guitar, Sax) & Kenny Morris (drums) joined. Surprisingly they didn't get signed up like most punk bands & as a result their debut LP came out later than expected (1978) following their appearances in Derek Jarman's Jubilee and the Love in a Void/Peel Sessions (both of which worth checking out). By the time they got to the debut-LP proper, their sound had developed beyond the limitations of punk-rock, which wasn't that much of an advance on Chuck Berry or Eddie Cochran ultimately. The Scream is perhaps the creation of the sound later deemed post-punk, The Banshees weren't alone in this- but along with peers like Pere Ubu, Magazine, Suicide & Throbbing Gristle they advanced punk music to post-punk and preceded more revered acts such as The Cure, Joy Division & PIL.
The Scream is scary stuff, sounding like the next step on from The Velvets/Nico, aided by that creepy cover (influenced by film The Swimmer) and Steve Lillywhite's production. In the time that the Banshees had waited to record, they had come up with a record that they were clear about: Pure is the opening mantra (pre-Sonic Youth sonics with Sioux's screaming), leading into Jigsaw Feeling, which explores that bass/guitar/drums/vocals sound in a manner that Joy Division would (the end sees the beats go into overdrive, prediciting stuff like Disorder). Tracks like Overground & Carcass fit with the alienation of the times (the latter is one of the many songs influenced by JG Ballard's Crash); while the opening half closes on a cover of The Beatles'Helter Skelter (the intention was The Manson Family's version of Helter Skelter, playing wity taboos and predicting records by NIN & Scraping Foetus off the Wheel).
Mirage is the closest thing to the pop of debut single Hong Kong Garden; the marker for this record was Hong Kong Garden's flipside Voices: dark, sinister stuff. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen) is another key Banshees moment and it's songs like this & Nicotine Stain that would influence bands like The Cure (Pornography) and PIL (Metal Box; McKay's guitar sound precedes Keith Levene's). The Scream concludes on the six-minute plus Switch (paying no concessions to accusations of prog-dom- similar to Magazine)which shows the original Banshees in full-flight moving towards another realm...
Sadly the follow-up Join Hands was patchy, band pressures and a lack of songs made it a bit of a disappointment & shortly after McKay and Morris walked. The trio of albums (Kaleidoscope, Ju-Ju, Kiss in the Dreamhouse) recorded with the late John McGeoch are almost as great as The Scream (afterwards the Banshees were a bit patchy), but this remains in many ways their ultimate statement and one of the greatest debut albums released. Oh, and possibly the invention of post-punk as we know it!
on 8 April 2010
The debut album by Siouxsie and the Banshees may not have been what the public was expecting after the immediate success of their debut single, 'Hong Kong Garden'. Where HKG was a very catchy, upbeat, and dare I say it..., poppy song, much of The Scream has a tuneless punk/post-punk sound to it. Not to say that it's a bad thing, but nowhere as satisfying as the later albums. It's amazing to hear Siouxsie's early voice was this flat, tuneless shouting and yelping, considering how beautiful it became.
Highlights from the album are the grotesque novelty of 'Carcass', the should-have-been second single, 'Mirage', and the first of several epic tracks The Banshees would produce in the coming years, 'Switch'. The not so good songs are inevitable at this point in the band's young life, so songs like 'Nicotine Stain' and 'Suburban relapse' are easy to pass on future listenings of the album. And while 'Overground' is not a bad song, it pales in comparison to the re-recorded version from the 1984 ep, The Thorn.
The bonus disc is only partially satisfying, mainly due to Siouxsie's interference. Siouxsie seemed to have the veto power to ensure that all of the early Banshees tracks, ('Bad Shape', 'Psychic', 'Scrapheap', etc...) were not included as bonuses, which leaves fans stuck with poor quality third party sources. The one track that received Siouxsie's approval was the classic 'Make Up To Break Up'. This is very catchy and hooky in a sort of punk/pop marriage. This bonus disc also includes the two non-album single releases, 'Hong Kong Garden' and 'The Staircase (Mystery)'. The Peel Sessions have since become redundant with the release of two collections that have come since this deluxe edition.
The remastering on The Scream is very strong. It comes from original studio master tapes and has not been damaged or compressed in any manner, and the tapes for the original album and singles display no audible signs of age. Apparently, a later single disc reissue of this album was a distorted disaster on its first pressing, but subsequent pressings were said to be corrected by replacing it with the mastering in this package.
The packaging on this edition is a very nice, glossy multi-fold digipak, thankfully enclosed in a protective plastic slipcase to help protect from wear. It also includes an insert containing the track listing for this set, although there were a number of incorrect spellings on the insert (Surburban Releapse !?!?) that were said to be corrected on later pressings. The booklet is very nice, containing the lyrics and a number of outtakes from the album cover shoot. Steven Severin from the band has been overseeing all rereleases of the band's back catalog to ensure everything is done properly. Well, with the glaring spelling errors and defective single disc edition let me be the first to say GREAT JOB!!
on 7 June 2012
Perhaps the title is a little bold, yet whenever I listen to the Banshees debut I can't help but think it wipes the floor with most other Punk albums of it's day and beyond. Some of you might think of Nervermind the Bollocks when it comes to Great British Punk albums, but I certainly don't. The Sex Pistols were a great singles band, whereas Siouxsie and The Banshees made great albums; this being the first of many.
The fact that the band were together for two years before their debut was created is perhaps why this record sounds incredibly tight and cohesive for a punk record. Every song on here has a very uniformed, near militant form with Siouxsie's howling vocals at the helm, still evoking the punk atmospherics with her howls. The album even opens this way, with the track Pure, a kind of prelude of what is to come.
Unfortunately, the album is let down early on by the track, Overground. The song is very quiet and rather bland in comparison to the others and it also exists in a much more appealing version on The Thorn EP. Fortunately, it is followed by the distrubinly funny carcass and a warped version of Helter Skelter that is one of the stand-out tracks for me. Other stand-outs include the very tight and fierce, Metal Postcard and the full throttle power of Suburban Relapse. The final track, Switch is another great one, though like Overground, is a bit of an oddity in the face of the other songs.
This edition also includes the hit single of the time, 'Hong Kong Garden' origionally left of the album and when you hear it, you'll realise why. It also contains their other single, 'Staircase (Mystery)' which could have had a place on the album, perhaps in exchange for Overground.
Overall this is an excellent debut, though I would only reccomended it to those interested in more alternative genres of music, as well as those interested in the origional sound of the Banshees.