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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 August 2017
I must admit I was slightly surprised by just how fresh, certainly (still) original and consistently good Siouxsie and the Banshees’ 1978 debut album still sounds. I remember (cassette) taping many of these songs from the original John Peel sessions at the time and, unlike many other albums of the period, Steve Lillywhite’s production here stands up very respectably in comparison with the ‘live feel’ of the radio recordings. Alongside the consistent song quality, the other thing that stands out for me is the power of the band’s playing and sound generally. There was always an argument that the mesmeric playing of John McKay’s guitar and Kenny Morris’ drums might have a relatively short 'shelf-life’ – and, of course, this proved to be true, their replacements John McGeogh and Budgie, in effect, reinventing the band’s sound barely a year later – but, here, any reservations are well and truly consigned to the bin, as it is McKay and Morris’ playing, plus Siouxsie’s searing vocals, that provide the band’s most memorably distinctive qualities. Even now, it’s difficult to quantify quite where the band sprang from, sound and influence-wise – as Nick Kent said, perhaps a kind of Can-Velvet Underground combo. And, as for the band’s future influence, almost everyone (of note) seems to have name-checked them, with (for me) Joy Division being perhaps the closest comparator.

Song-wise, everything here still resonates. In keeping with the 'punk’ ethos – even if the band were about as far from being 'one-chord wonders’ as you could get – youth disaffection (particularly as it applied to the band’s suburban roots) is to the fore on Jigsaw Feeling, Overground, Carcass, Mirage and Suburban Relapse ('I was washing up the dishes, minding my own business….’). Specific issues inform Metal Postcard (the noted anti-Nazi artist John Heartfield), Nicotine Stain (smoking as a proxy for a wider malaise?) and Hong Kong Garden (a Chinese take-away on Siouxsie’s patch – Chislehurst), whilst there is also a stunning cover of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter. The album probably finds the band at their most commercial (unsurprisingly) on the two singles added to the CD re-issue – Hong Kong Garden and The Staircase Mystery – however, the album closer, Switch, also contains a sublime melody, is one of the most sophisticated songs here and is something of a pointer to the band’s subsequent incarnation. My only minor criticism of the album would be the omission of the song (a personal favourite) Love In A Void. Nevertheless, a band, and album, well worth revisiting.
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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!!
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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.
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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...
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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?
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on 17 August 2017
A great debut album from Siouxsie & banshees I have had a copy of this album since Christmas 1978 on Vinyl, CD and now on remastered vinyl and this vinyl copy is the best. The CD version was "overloud" and with the vinyl you hear everything as you should. .Contains some of the Banshees best work = Mirage, Switch, Jigsaw Feeling & the Beatles cover Helter Skelter. Carcass & Suburban Relapse are particular favourites of mine. This is still the best all round album they have done although Juju comes a close 2nd.
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on 2 August 2009
Long after Punk had wondered off into the sunset the Banshees released this- their debut !. And it has been treated as a holy object ever since . I merely see the Emporers new Clothes syndrome.
Yes there are highlights but low lights too. Joy Division's debut absolutely kicks this into touch. Ms Sioux's vocal is forced and the band seem to have tried so hard to move away frompunk that they have a "non style". A producer with the class of Martin Hannett could have make it work/rescued it.
It just Screams "pretentious" from it's grooves rather than exciting, vibrant, challenging and different. Some so called classics need re-appraising and un-touchables looked at again. The Scream is a prime example.
On "Overground" the riff drifts in and is full of promise but then doesn't go anywhere. It's great in it's simplicity (play along it's only about 4 chords)but sums up my frustration with the band. This is just an excercise in cool there is no point to it...
It's hasn't aged well as I bet the Bromley Contingent haven't (probably corporate Lawyers these days !).
Listen to this and then "Tinderbox" or "Kiss in the Dreamhouse" now they are outstanding and if you want a doomladen atmosphere try "Juju".
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on 8 February 2007
many artists like MASSIVE ATTACK or MORRISSEY were impressed by this siouxsie & the banshees album "The Scream" (first released in 1978) 'cse it marks in a certain way the end of an era and the beginning of the new wave.

MASSIVE ATTACK for instance used the music of "Metal Poscard" in 1997 for "super predators(metal poscard)" on the movie soundtrack cd "The Jackal".

it's not surprising 'cse the sound of guitars on the original version of "Metal Poscard" is peculiar and the atmosphere of the whole song is quite cinematic.

the guitars are sometimes spacious like on the gorgeous "pure", or scratching and nervous like on the very efficient "jigsaw feeling". they can also be soft like on the excellent "switch" (topped with a gorgeous saxophone part).

MORRISSEY also considers The Scream as one of his all-time favourite albums. he stated it in many interviews and as he admired the band very much, he even asked Siouxsie to record a duet with him in 1994 (on the single "interlude").

concerning the lyrics of The Scream, one can state that they are very different from the other bands of that era 'cse they don't cover social issues. they conjure up more images from dreams than precise facts.

This Remastered edition offers an excellent sound (very rich like on the deluxe edition), plus in the bonus, they added the legendary single "Hong Kong Garden" and the other top 20 single "the staircase".

"the scream" has been recently stated in the book "1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die" made by the most important journalists of several countries.

one can recall that other bands like TRICKY or JEFF BUCKLEY covered songs of siouxsie & the banshees.

indeed, TRICKY recorded on his cd "Nearly God" a version of "Tattoo"(a song present on the siouxsie & the banshees boxset "Downside Up").

JEFF BUCKLEY used to perform live "killing time"(a song that siouxsie sings on the creatures album "boomerang").

Robert Smith of THE CURE even was the guitarist of siouxsie : he appeared on the live dvd "nocturne" and on the studio album "hyaena".

it's rare that a band manages to get as much as recognition from artists as important as massive attack, morrissey, tricky, jeff buckley or the cure. so rare that it's good to underline it.
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on 30 July 2015
Excellent debut album by this classic post-punk group. Obviously given the band name, there is emphasis on Siouxsie's voice and lyrics - her voice is very clear in the production. The guitar playing provided by original guitarist John McKay, gives the songs a melodic quality against the often tribal drumming and gritty bass. My only complaint is that towards the middle of the album it was evident that the band were running out of ideas, as some of the themes and chords were reused. Overall, a very good debut album. I look forward to hearing more of their efforts.
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on 16 September 2014
Brilliant debut album by a group who went on to be much more after the departure of two of its founder members. It is a roller-coaster ride of thrashing guitars, banging drums and tortured vocals. The songs force a harsh mixture of isolation and extreme emotions into your ears and is still far from easy listening so many years later. In some ways I think the album is an audible projection of what Edvard Munch tried to present in his series of paintings of the same title. I prefer it to some of the later records but their popularity indicates I may be in a minority. Essential listening form the early days of Punk.
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