Siouxsie and The Banshees Kaleidoscope Review

Album. Released 1980.  

BBC Review

'Kaleidoscope' was where Siouxsie came of age...

Chris Jones 2007

A member of the 'Bromley' contingent, responsible for the birth of London's early punk explosion, Siouxsie Sioux was foremost a scenester, but by 1979 she was older and wiser in many ways. Her band, The Banshees, had fought tooth and nail for their recording contract, following John Peel's championing; then following two corruscating yet somewhat disappointing albums both the guitarist and drummer jumped ship. Talk about a cloud with a silver lining...

The silver came in the form of who was drafted in to replace Kenny Morris and John McKay. Firstly Siouxsie brought in the man who was to prove her life's work partner; Budgie. Fresh from transforming the Slits from - surprise, surprise - punk scenesters to post punk icons, this multi-talented drummer then proceeded to add a layer of sophistication to the band's back line.

Next up were the guitarists. Prior to becoming a full-time member, John McGeoch was making his name with those other post punk icons, Magazine. His flanged arpeggios proved a perfect foil to the newer direction of Eastern-tinged songs that were now replacing the sub-Patti Smith-isms that had dragged down previous efforts. Also on board was the Pistols' underrated axeman, Steve Jones, who added much-needed muscle.

With Police producer, Nigel Gray, also on board to smooth out the edges, Kaleidoscope was to propel the Banshees into the major league and to also prove that they had chart potential aplenty. This was where their first hits finally emerged; "Happy House" - dripping with sarcasm - and "Christine", the proto-goth template that was such a burden in later years.

But every track is taut and smoothly seductive. From the psychedelic synth swoops of "Tenant", to the weirdly atmospheric "Lunar Camel". Kaleidoscope was where Siouxsie came of age...

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