miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2010

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Seven Year Itch

Genere: Rock / Pop

Post Punk, Goth Rock, British Punk.

Similar Artists: The Fall, Joy Division, The Mekons.

Original Recording Year: Sanctuary, 2003.

Siouxsie and the Banshees were among the longest-lived and most successful acts to emerge from the London punk community; over the course of a career that lasted two decades, they evolved from an abrasive, primitive art punk band into a stylish, sophisticated unit that even notched a left-field Top 40 hit.

Throughout its numerous lineup changes and textural shifts, the group remained under the leadership of vocalist Siouxsie Sioux, born Susan Dallion on May 27, 1958. She and the Banshees' initial lineup emerged from the Bromley Contingent, a notorious group of rabid Sex Pistols fans; inspired by the growing punk movement, Dallion adopted the name Siouxsie and formed the Banshees in September 1976. In addition to bassist Steven Severin and guitarist Marco Perroni, the band included drummer John Simon Ritchie, who assumed the name Sid Vicious; they debuted later that year at the legendary Punk Festival held at London's 100 Club, where their entire set consisted of a savage, 20-minute rendition of "The Lords Prayer."

Soon after, Vicious joined the Sex Pistols, while Perroni went on to join Adam & the Ants. The core duo of Sioux and Severin, along with new guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris, reached the U.K. Top Ten with their 1978 debut single, "Hong Kong Garden"; their grim, dissonant first LP, The Scream, followed later in the year. Two days into a tour for their 1979 follow-up, Join Hands, both McKay and Morris abruptly departed, and guitarist Robert Smith of the Cure (the tour's opening act) and ex-Slits and Big in Japan drummer Budgie were enlisted to fill the void; although Smith returned to the Cure soon after, Budgie became a permanent member of the group, and remained with the Banshees throughout the duration of their career.

With ex-Magazine guitarist John McGeoch on board, the band returned to the studio for 1980's Kaleidoscope, a subtler and more melodic effort than their prior records; on the strength of the U.K. Top 20 smash "Happy House," the album reached the Top Five. A year later, the Banshees released the psychedelic Juju, along with Once Upon a Time, a collection of singles; at the same time, Sioux and Budgie formed the Creatures, an ongoing side project. Following 1982's experimental A Kiss in the Dreamhouse, McGeoch fell ill, and Smith temporarily rejoined for the group's planned tour; a pair of 1983 performances at London's Royal Albert Hall were recorded and later issued as Nocturne. Also in 1983, Severin and Smith teamed as the one-off project the Glove for the LP Blue Sunshine.

After his recovery, McGeoch opted not to return, so the Banshees recruited former Clock DVA guitarist John Carruthers after Smith exited following the sessions for 1984's dark, atmospheric Hyaena. With 1986's Tinderbox, Siouxsie and the Banshees finally reached the U.S. Top 100 album charts, largely on the strength of the excellent single "Cities in Dust." After 1987's all-covers collection Through the Looking Glass, Carruthers took his leave and was replaced by ex-Specimen guitarist Jon Klein and keyboardist Martin McCarrick for 1988's Peepshow, a techno-inspired outing that gave the group its first U.S. chart single with "Peek-a-Boo."

In 1991 -- the year in which Sioux and Budgie married -- the Banshees performed on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour; their concurrent LP, Superstition was their most commercially successful, spawning their lone U.S. Top 40 hit, "Kiss Them for Me." Another singles collection, Twice Upon a Time, followed in 1992 before the group returned after a long absence with 1995's stylish The Rapture, produced in part by John Cale. A year later, the nostalgia surrounding the reunion of their former heroes the Sex Pistols prompted Siouxsie and the Banshees to finally call it quits; Siouxsie and Budgie turned to the Creatures as their primary project, while Severin composed the score for the controversial film Visions of Ecstasy.

It's fairly safe to say that after the rather bland and lackluster, pompous career-ending album The Rapture, hope for a Siouxsie and the Banshees reunion (albeit live or otherwise) was probably less than enthusiastic. Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie had been making post-breakup waves with the Creatures, and Steven Severin seemed to settle in nicely in his little world of ambient music and erotic poetry. All that Banshees business seemed to be locked away in the past. So when it was announced that the reunited core three of Sioux, Budgie, and Severin would be playing a handful of shows across America and England, it was greeted with surprise and curiosity. What would they do? Was this another big cash in on the punk revival, à la the Sex Pistols reunion? Amazingly, it was quite the contrary. The lack of a huge itinerary made the shows that did happen seem more intimate. But the real treat of the shows (especially the London one, captured on Seven Year Itch and its related DVD release) was the set list. While in the States concessions were made for some of the tunes that made a (surprising) dent on the radio, the U.K. set list was a purist's dream. Culling material from early albums such as Kaleidoscope, The Scream, and Join Hands was not only a way to retain some semblance of respect, but it was the logical thing to do given the fickleness of casual fans who probably wouldn't have made the trek to wherever to see them. This tour and its CD and DVD releases were made for the true fans, the longtime supporters who understood that the true magic of the band was found in its ability to make music that was genuinely interesting and out of the bounds of standard play lists and popular fads. A gem of a live record, Seven Year Itch leaves the listener satisfied that for once a great band got together and opted for class instead of mediocrity.

Fields Of Haze.

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