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Banshees Jamboree arrives at last!!,
This review is from: Downside Up - B-Sides & Rarities (Audio CD)THE single most-awaited collection for us Banshee freaks is almost finally here after some 12 years of rumour, speculation, false dawns, record company tangles and god only knows what else..... but the old saying that "good things always come to those who wait" certainly rings true in this respect, as we are finally treated to the full cornucopia of riches that has until now lain gathering dust in the record company vaults for far too long now - almost at one point destined to remain overlooked and forgotten. Let it just be said that Siouxsie remains perhaps the most enduring of all the post-punk heroines and, along with Patti Smith, would almost single-handedly influence the subsequent likes of PJ Harvey, Shirley Manson, Courtney Love, Horseface Morissette, Fiona Apple, Toni Halliday of Curve, et al...and yet to this day she and her Banshees remain criminally underappreciated when compared to the over-eulogised likes of their more celebrated - and commercially successful - contemporaries the Pistols, the Clash, the Stranglers and even the Damned to name but four....seemingly content to take fifth place in the punk punters' affections.
Whilst all the aforementioned have had countless annual greatest hits compilations, box sets and "anniversary" collections to their credit, the Banshees have at least resisted the urge to jump on that particular bandwagon due in no small part to their admirably tight sense of quality control over all their recorded output.....such that only two proper chronological greatest hits sets and one live album were ever issued before their "blink-and-you-missed-it" 2002 reformation (for "unfinished business") spawned a rather hastilly cobbled together - and therefore unessential - "Best Of" collection and subsequent commemorative live outing.
Well that imbalance can now be set right in this stonking collection of every single B-side the band have ever issued in neat chronological order, spread across three disks niftily comprised of 17 tracks each...then, as the cherry on the cake, the fourth CD is the entirety of 1984's "The Thorn EP" - a splendid 4-tracker consisting of old Banshee favourites re-recorded with a full orchestra and dripping with enough drama, tension and pathos to lift the roof clean off the Royal Albert Hall......
This collection simply highlights the sheer eclectism of the entire Banshees canon - their modus operandi being to experiment to the full with all their B-sides rather than fill them with needless alternative mixes and takes (only one - "Obsession II" - basically an instrumental mix of the divine "Dreamhouse" album track falls into this latter category). Put simply, there is something for every kind of mood here: be it stark and scary ("Eve White/Eve Black", "Execution"), sumptuously melancholic ("Something Blue", "Sea Of Light"), playfully vindictive ("Drop Dead/Celebration"), joyfully frivolous ("El Dia De Los Muertos", "Catwalk"), just plain surreal ("There's a Planet In My Kitchen"), or mesmerisingly mantric ("Tattoo", "Red Over White", "Sunless").... every single facet of Sioux & Co's multiple personalities are on display here in an incredibly strong anthology of songs that completely blow away the [always wildly inaccurate] myth that the Banshees were just a bunch of dour, po-faced suburbanite doom-rock situationists who just got lucky (that honour can be more readily applied to their one-time cohort and associate Robert Smith - even though I'm sure he too would absolutely hate it!!).
The package has yet to be released commercially (late November at a guess) but I am already moist with excitement at the prospect of finally getting my hands on this Holy Grail of forthcoming releases.... the definitive Siouxsie & The Banshees B-sides Box Set: a truly ravishing, bewitching pleasure! Go on, do yourself a favour, buy this, put the first CD on loud, dive in, indulge yourself - you know you want to......