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NME (8.19.78)

Single Review by Paul Rambali

SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES: Hong Kong Garden (Polydor). A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this disc - waiting while the self-styled enfant terrible of the punk front line played cat and mouse with a music industry she openly regards with contempt and disdain.

Siouxsieís got a point. The record companies who ultimately decide what youíre going to be able to buy are often reactionary and staid and deaf and can be accused of attempted manipulation of the populace. But then she isnít entirely blameless on that last count either.

If you really think the Banshees spent the past year in a contract-less limbo because they were too uncompromising, their music too near the edge, then you must spend a lot of your time going around walking into walls. The Banshees have fans, lots of them, and no record company unless it lacks fundamental business sense would pass up the chance to sell records to those fans.

And what about putting a record out themselves? Donít they know the old mass access argument hardly applies anymore.

But there you go and here we are and here it is, a brash, delirious two-chord triumph that I would never have thought them capable of, being not in the least enamoured of their facile attempts at creating radical new music. Itís one thing to employ oblique, disorientating constructions, itís another thing entirely to make them work, as the shapeless flip, "Voices", amply illustrates.

"Hong Kong Garden", a long-time stage favourite, stays simple and stays clear of the trap. Itís a bright, vivid narrative, something like snapshots from the window of a speeding Japanese train, powercharged by the most original, intoxicating guitar playing Iíve heard in a long, long time.

Would you believe itís going to be played on Radio One? Would you believe Siouxsie on Top Of The Pops? Would you believe not one mention of Blon...oops.


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