Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Siouxsie And The Banshees Downside Up

Siouxsie And The Banshees Downside Up

Get It At Discogs
Downside Up. A 4 disc, 55 song, (34 of which appear on CD for the first time) chronological collection, of every Banshee B Side, remastered. A 76 page booklet, an introduction by Mark Paytress (author of the recent official Banshees biography), a brief word from Siouxsie and individual notes for each track by Siouxsie, Budgie and Severin. How long have we lived with these songs in one form or another? Finally you can throw away your dusty, crackling vinyl, distorted, hissy cassettes and overpriced badly put together bootlegs, because this is the 'Real McCoy'. Where to start? How about, forget everything you know and everything you've heard. Pretend you only have a basic knowledge of the Banshees from their classic singles. The upside to this is we can turn it all on its head and delve into the downside for the first time. The Banshees started their recording career with the sprightly, poppy takeaway Hong Kong Garden, more pop than punk, more accessible than anyone dared dream of, and like a true Chinese Take Away, they served up the sour with the sweet on the flip side, Voices. This isn't pop its art, it's the perfect antidote, harsh, clashing Guitar and Siouxsie's swooping vocal. This is where the journey begins. A journey that will take you almost full circle. From the experimental, the historical, the nostalgic, the sheer joy of being free of any restrictions. So, what is a B Side? The A Side (topside) is generally a commercial, a preview, an introduction to the full feature, normally an album. The B Side (downside), can be any number of things, the only restrictions being a band's imagination or creativity. Whilst many bands take the easy route and include a remix, live favourite, or an album track, the Banshees perform the rare feat of indulging themselves and their audience. Downside Up is not the tip of an iceberg, but the huge mass that is unseen below the waterline. At times the Banshees had an uncanny knack of continuing the theme, sound, or feel of a single on to it's b sides, Pulled To Bits, Eve White/Eve Black, Let Go. The B Side became an opportunity to pay homage to influences and heroes, 20th Century Boy, She Cracked, All Tomorrow's Parties. Revisit childhood memories, Supernatural Thing, Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant. Push boundaries, Voices, Slap Dash Snap. And have fun, both with themselves, their critics and their audience, Conga Congo, There's A Planet In My Kitchen. Downside Up documents the Banshees progress as musicians, as a band and as individuals. As Important as it is to finally have this great collection of songs on an official release, equally as Important is the excellent work that was involved in remastering these songs. Everything sounds brand new, fresh and sharp. Most impressive is probably the 2nd disc. Disc 1 deals mainly with the rawer songs, songs recorded with less instrumentation, disc 3 deals mainly with songs that have previously been available on CD in one format or another. Although the remastering is pristine throughout it is disc 2 and disc 4 (The Thorn E.P.) that benefit the most from remastering. By disc 2 and the opening whoosh of Tattoo, the Banshees had augmented their sound still further and the production on these songs is superb. Let Go, I Promise, Something Blue, all showcase a more delicate and multihued Banshees and it's possible to hear sounds, instruments, that you would swear were never there on your dusty old vinyl versions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bought this when it came out for I wanted to return to the seven inch singles of the banshees I had long ago but had to give away due to living abroad. This collection of b-sides (plus The Thorn EP) is absolutely essential for any fan of Siouxsie & The Banshees. I can not pick a favourite song as there are too many to choose from. Listen to this today.

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