Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.

Tuesday

SWITCH



You Ain’t no fuckin’ dancer…

The first wave of punk was becalmed in the doldrums by November 1978. Post punk was still a figment of some prepubescent journalist’s imagination. Politically, the UK was part grey Orwellian uber-state, part suburban dream zone, part police state. As with many groups from the punk era, Siouxsie And The Banshees are primarily remembered as a “singles” band but this ignores the absolute crucial impact The Scream had on UK music at the time. Sheet metal guitar, pounding, tribal drums and Siouxsie’s part Nico-esque dominatrix meets primal yelp vocals made The Scream unlike anything else released that year.
The Banshees had left punk pogoing and spitting firmly in their rear-view mirrors, with an album as unexpected as it was ground-breaking. To paraphrase Paul Morley, The Banshees were punk like Pharaoh Sanders or Miles Davis were punk. They were squalling, uncompromising, visceral, energetic, spacey and melodramatic all at the same time.
Opener Pure sets the tone. A whirling dervish of a song with nods to Can and the Velvets, it spirals in and out of control as Siouxsie’s paranoid lyric leads the charge. Metal Postcard is perhaps the central song on the album. John Mackay’s screeching guitar intro hints at Hitchcock’s Psycho soundtrack while Kenny Morris’s thunderous attack gives the song a primitive air. Dedicated to anti-Nazi John Heartfield, Metal Postcard lays waste any hint that The Banshees had fascist overtones.
The Beatles-slaughtering cover version of Helter Skelter has an almost joyful glee in its climbing, fluttering changes. There is clearly a reverential tone to Siouxsie and friends with nods to their musical heritage, but this is all something very new. Switch, the longest and perhaps most complex song on the album closes. A claustrophobic, creeping dread lingers throughout before it lunges breathlessly to an end.
 

Despite The Banshees next incarnation following the split of The Scream/Join Hands line-up enjoying huge success, it’s interesting to wonder “what if” the original band had survived.

Taken from the 2005 Deluxe Remastered 2CD edition to MP3 @ 320kbps

Track List [Disc 1]
 1. Pure
 2. Jigsaw Feeling
 3. Overground
 4. Carcass
 5. Helter Skelter
 6. Mirage
 7. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)
 8. Nicotine Stain
 9. Suburban Relapse
10. Switch

Track List; Rarities, Sessions, and Singles [Disc 2]
 1. Make Up or Break Up (Riverside Session)
 2. Love in a Void (Maida Vale 4, Nov. 29, 1977)
 3. Mirage (Maida Vale 4, Nov. 29, 1977)
 4. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen) (Maida Vale 4, Nov. 29, 1977)
 5. Suburban Relapse (Maida Vale 4, Nov. 29, 1977)
 6. Hong Kong Garden (Maida Vale 4, June 2, 1978)
 7. Overground (Maida Vale 4, June 2, 1978)
 8. Carcass (Maida Vale 4, June 2, 1978)
 9. Helter Skelter (Maida Vale 4, June 2, 1978)
10. Metal Postcard (Pathway Session)
11. Suburban Relapse (Pathway Session)
12. The Staircase (Mystery) (Pathway Session)
13. Mirage (Pathway Session)
14. Nicotine Stain (Pathway Session)
15. Hong Kong Garden (7" Single Version)
16. The Staircase (Mystery) (7" Single Version)

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