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6/16/1984  Sounds
Day Of The Jackal- Hyaena Album Review

SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES
'Hyaena'
(Polydor Wonderland SHE LP1)

***1/2

'Hyaena' crawled out of it's cave or ditch or church or whatever, blinked in the sunlight, moved to 'Dazzle'. Such a bright start.

Gorgeous intro, twirling melody, lobotomised rhythm and all sorts of under currents. Then if the whole is just another predictable album from the Rolling Stones of dark music, at least a seductive whine is trying to communicate something - common knowledge?

Robert Smith does a lot on here. Perhaps that's why he's gone. There's only so much scope for building in a reconstruction of 'Kiss In The Dreamhouse'. Maybe someone inside should be throwing more stones. Maybe there's little point in shaking a fool's paradise.

If complacency has taken hold, stroppiness still keeps the Banshees' sound buoyant. Strings and woodwind are no revelation but that familiar barrage of Sioux's harsh (even now) vocals, the shrill guitar and deceptively solid rhythm (Budgie is a power in the darkness) keeps flinging out firecrackers.

Side one is a moody contrivance, working best on 'Dazzle' and the lovely, warm, misunderstood 'Swimming Horses'. 'We Hunger' is fractionally poignant and heated, 'Take Me Back' pretends to hint at reggae, 'Belladonna' humps, never takes flight, Siouxsie glides effortlessly from east to west.

The second side is more raucous, but no primeval scream. The melodramatic 'Running Town' and 'Blow The House Down' are superb examples of the Banshees illusion doing the trick. Structurally a rock shriek, effectively urgent, dynamic, poetic. As you know, it'd be nothing without Siouxsie's dress sense.

It is nothing anyway, probably. The lyrics may have some meaning after many/dark nights and more drugs. But right now it says more about death and decay than life and force. Siouxsie presents pop music, as always, with style and edge and a slight degree of inspiration. What more could anyone ask of an image? At least she scowls where many would simper unknowingly.

'Hyaena' slowly turned it's head, saw nothing worth shouting about, snaffled it's breakfast and went back to sleep, to dream of the next album.

Severin: 'What shall we call it?'

Sioux: 'Dunno yet.'

- Chris Roberts

 

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