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The Guardian (4.21.06)

Siouxsie and the Banshees: + + + + + (Universal) 12.99

Their show a sustained fantasy on the dark glamour of pre-Nazi mitteleuropa, here are Brit-punk legends Siouxsie and the Banshees at their zenith over two nights at the Albert Hall in 1983. Barefoot, and vocally more foghorn than siren, Siouxsie struts like a particularly ill-tempered dominatrix costumed by Klimt or Bakst. When the song calls for it she writhes in Freudian recall of nursery nightmares to guitar-rock of chilling drama that owes more to Alban Berg than Chuck Berry.

Not a wink nor a smile breaks the spell - which peaks, naturally, with the hit Spellbound - and no band can have been more calculated to thrill the average English and Drama A-level student. High-concept schlock, of course, but the inner goth remains mightily impressed. The band's lighter side is exhumed in a bonus hour-long Channel 4 self-made special, a curio of pretension and art-school japery in which the band (which includes Robert Smith, taking time off from the Cure) and side- project members revisit English psychedelia in a re-enactment of the Mad Hatter's tea party. Much better is the promo video for the Banshees' hit version of the Beatles' Dear Prudence, in which they cleverly fore-ground the sinister shadow-play of the song's original sunlit reverie. Mat Snow


Contributed by Jerry Burch.


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