This one was a drag

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15 Feb 2009, 17:29

I've got reviews for everything up to A Kiss in the Dreamhouse now, so I'd better start playing catchup. This is Join Hands. Two and a half...

It's hard to pinpoint what makes Join Hands so terrible. The quality of playing hasn't fallen, but it's definately got a lack-luster edge to it. And Siouxsie's voice has lost its earlier passion and just grates for the most part.

I can applaud them for starting to branch out. Instead of just blindly copying The Scream, they interject a lot of macabre and gothic imagery. But no good melodies really show up and most of the songs fail. Simply put, this is The Scream's hangover and the sound of a band in trouble (proven by the fact that half the members left after this album's completion).

Poppy Day, the short opener, has a cool lyric, but Siouxsie just doesn't pull it off and the music doesn't stay with you from moment to moment.

Regal Zone tries harder, but still limps along, especially on the drawn-out chorus. It's not awful, but it's far from good.

One of the few great moments follows. Placebo Effect stays in your head, despite the too-long opening. This one actually has Siouxsie's voice retaining a bit of the ferocity that carried The Scream. After the grinding intro the music also gains a decent tempo. Easy winner.

Icon starts slow as well, but it's got a bit of atmosphere to it. Then it picks up , and despite its length it's easily another good track.

Premature Burial brings the album back down. With a name like that you sort of expect crawling, nightmare music. Well, you don't get it. You get a really choked up melody and (I'm sorry to say this) a really bad lyric. Can you take a line like "doing the zombierama" seriously?

The best of the whole lot is the single Playground Twist. It's short, powerful and Sioux dishes out commanding atmosphere in spades. Cool sax solo too.

That's the last good track though. Next is the experiment Mother/Oh Mein Pa Pa. It doesn't work. It's got an old music lullaby on endless repeat with Sioux singing two seperate sets of lyrics over it. Never mind the second set because you'll never be able to make out a word of it. This may have been one of the worst things they ever did.

Then there is... The Lord's Prayer. I've tried to find out what's wrong with it, but I can't identify the problem. The playing is energetic improv, and Sioux is belting it out again. The real flaw is most likely that it takes fourteen minutes where four would have sufficed. It's a drag, despite the promising beginning.

So that's the whole turkey carved up. Three fine songs and a bunch of filler. I really can't believe any of the later Banshee records being as bad as this one ('cept for The Rapture, which I have not deigned to purchase). This is either their worst or runner-up for that title. If you're a fan, it's worth a listen for the three good ones. Rest of you: don't start here.

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  • Ticharu

    At the time it came out, it was an interesting record and broke more than a few rules for a punk rock group. Yup, it's grating, ya just have to put it in context which of course is hard to do when you're familure with their later output, etc.

    15 Feb 2009, 22:43
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