Okay this isn't the best Banshees creation and that is a fact but there was no way that they were ever going to improve on 'Juju' or 'The Scream'. However this is still an extremely good album, from the epic beauty of the opening track 'Dazzle' (shame the 12" remix wasn't included on the CD) through the twisted pop elegance of 'We Hunger' and particularly 'Take Me Back' to the breath-taking cavalcade of sound that is 'Bring Me The Head Of The Preacher Man' which is best enjoyed through headphones at an eye-popping volume. The closest this album comes to a dull track is 'Belladonna' and even that is still memorable and has a certain grace, the chorus is a little tedious but the verses contain some beautiful lyrics, I reckon that this album finds Siouxsie at a lyrical high point, crossing abstract lines and playful yet dark imagery that would have Kristin Hersh, Black Francis and Kim Deal salivating. Whilst I always thoroughly enjoy the frantic energy of 'Running Town and the threatening tones of 'Pointing Bone', the best on this album is absolutely saved until last with the vast, sweeping and thundering chords of 'Blow The House Down' which will leave anyone with a with even half a soul gasping for more. For an added bonus this album is the only Banshees studio album that utilises the guitar genius of Robert Smith and the photos on the inside of the artwork are the most beautiful pictures ever taken of Siouxsie, Severin, Smith and Budgie. This album is an absolute must for anyone who wishes to consider themselves a Banshees fan.
Although not generally considered to be amongst this seminal punk band's top 5 albums, Hyaena contains at least four magical moments. As such, it is not a bad album at all and in fact I like it more now than when it was released in the middle 1980s. The first is the swirling Dazzle, a soaring melodic rock ballad that all by itself makes the album worthwhile. Swimming Horses is another classic of post punk psychedelic rock, quite an atmospheric number. Then there's their cover of The Beatles' Dear Prudence, where the arrangement and Siouxsie's voice turn a love song into an eerie noire affair. We Hunger has a bubbling, jerky rhythmic backdrop whilst Take Me Back is a sparse, mid tempo ballad. Belladonna is another of my favorites and the 4th masterpiece of the album with its beautiful melody line and poignant mood. Bring Me The Head Of The Preacher Man is a long brooding piece of dense instrumentation and claustrophobic airs and Running Town has some interesting tempo changes and stunning guitar playing. Hyaena has stood the test of time very well. The aforementioned great songs, especially Dazzle, Belladonna and Swimming Horses, rank amongst this legendary band's best songs. Fans of Siouxsie And The Banshees might also like Children Of God by Swans and the albums Thirteen Masks or Sacrificial Cake by Jarboe.
Siousxie was in a transition in 1982 and this album marks a shift from the darkness of 'Ju-Ju' to something lighter yet more gothic in its way. An example of this is the psuedo-latin sound of the Sam Peckinpah-esque "Bring Me The Head Of The Preacher Man" - which is an admirable contrast to the speeding stomp of 'Running Town' - a typical Banshees track. For completeness, this should be in the collection. I don't listen to it often but its freshness still surprises me.