The Times (London) (November 27, 2004, Saturday)

Siouxsie's prime post-punk

Nigel Williamson

SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES. Downside Up (Polydor)

Siouxsie Sioux first came to our attention in 1976 as a Sex Pistols acolyte who was standing behind the band during the notorious interview with Bill Grundy on The Today Programme. Yet with hindsight, her work doesn't seem to belong to punk at all. Her debut album didn't appear until 1978, by which time untutored three-chord thrashing was beginning to appear passe. Instead, with the Banshees she helped to invent a form of post-punk discord full of daring rhythmic and sonic experimentation that was as influential as it was underrated.

Downside Up features 55 tracks spread across four discs, some of which have not previously appeared on CD. The result is a collection that constitutes an alternative history far more revealing than a greatest hits package, for here is a group that never filled B-sides with inferior, throwaway tracks. Rather they saw them as an outlet for some of their most radical and challenging work.

Standouts include the spiky Drop Dead/Celebration, the sinister Eve White/Eve Black and the chopped-up industrial-funk of Tattoo, tracks that prove that the Banshees stand proudly alongside PiL, Gang of Four and the Fall as the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era. ****

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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