Saturday, January 28, 2023

SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES - The Peel Sessions 1977-1978

One more great release is another John Peel session by Siouxsie & The Banshees and on this record are the first two recordings. Info: "At a time when no other record company on the planet would touch them, Siouxsie & The Banshees came very close to signing to the BBC's own label. At least, they would have if DJ John Peel had had his way. Absolutely entranced by the two sessions that the group recorded for his show during 1977-1978, and disgusted by the rest of the industry's fearful avoidance of the band, he tried his hardest to interest the Powers That Be in at least releasing a Banshees single drawn, if necessary, from one of the actual sessions. Of course the BBC passed and, while Polydor would eventually step in to give the band the chance they demanded, it would be another two decades before the sessions themselves finally made it out, across two EPs (compiled, in turn, onto an eight-track mini-album) that returned to Siouxsie & The Banshees' first recordings for the corporation and left fans still demanding the six sessions that followed over the next ten years. Historically, of course, these are all you really need, the sound of the Banshees refining their clatter from the early rent-a-punk stylings that marked out their first shows, to the dense, chiming clang that laid the groundwork for their monumental debut album, The Scream. Spikily enthralling, six of the eight songs featured on the two sessions, from December 1977 (first transmission) and February 1978, would appear on that album; one more, "Hong Kong Garden," would become the group's first hit single, and all are instantly recognizable from their radio incarnations. But there's also a wildness here that Steve Lillywhite's LP production purposefully suppressed, a jagged vein of excitement that reminds you that here is a band kicking against all the odds, watching while a horde of lesser talents landed record deals, but refusing to compromise an iota of their vision in the hopes of joining that queue. It is that, even more than the performances, that makes this such an intense, and intensely valuable document -- if you want to hear the Banshees at their best, after all, you simply put on The Scream. But if you want to hear them at their most defiant, walk this way." (Dave Thompson)

- Great Thx to Fredrik -