75 Essential Albums – Day #28 Siouxsie and the Banshees

Here goes with day 28 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Siouxsie and the Banshees  – Kaleidoscope 

In Siouxsie Sioux, the band possessed a strong, determined and inventive powerhouse.  Just as well because without her inspirational presence the band, with their seemingly never ending line-up changes, would probably have disappeared into obscurity.  Despite all of the adversity  Siouxsie and the Banshees would emerge as one of the most potent and diverse bands of the 80s, beginning with the seminal Kaleidoscope.

Without doubt Kalediscope paints on a very broad canvas but it does hold together as a piece. “Happy House” bopped along to a decidedly punk bass line and the sharp guitar celebrates the lunacy that had come to define the band. For her part, Siouxsie’s vocals are brash, confident and at times eerie. “Christine” unleashes a series of mixed emotions as the “Strawberry Girl” and “Banana Split Lady” intermingle to outline the story of a woman with a multiple personality disorder.  It makes for an absolutely cracking pop song, filled with hooks for instant impact yet weighty enough for lasting appeal.  These two songs gave the Banshees two of their biggest hits and paved the way for the album to reach a wider audience.

Kaleidoscope was undoubtably something of a metamorphosis, the menacing bass was still present but we see elements of electro pop enter the fray and lyrically we see criticism of the fur trade in ‘Skin’ and a scathing attack on the beauty industry and plastic surgery in “Paradise Place”.

“Red Light” takes things a step further into electro-sleaze, but marks  Siouxsie as an engaging captivating, powerful whirlwind of a singer, an artist capable of completely commanding an audience with her presence.  The nearly atonal nature of her voice present on the first two albums shrieks with a new-found depth and emotion.

It would have been easy for Siouxsie and the Banshees to call it quits before this album instead they reinvented themselves and with Kaleidoscope emerged as a band capable of anything. With Kaleidoscope that we see a good band transforming into an unbelievable band. This was an album that gave rise to bands like the cure, an absolute masterpiece of its time.

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