1976: Siouxsie Sioux is the queen of punk; a style-terrorist whose swastikas and fetishistic peek-a-boo bustiers are a kick in the eye of straight society; an ice bitch whose skull-piercing howl obliterates the legacy of all the traditional, wispy songstresses who came before. 1991: Siouxsie is a simpering sophisticate, dolled up like some Hollywood starlet with toenails polished and hair curled. Where once she shocked, now she aims to seduce. From the macabre malevolence of "Carcass" to the feminine wiles of "Kiss Them for Me," what a long, strange trip it's been...
Siouxsie and the Banshees always represented the more fantastical strand of punk, Sioux and Steve Severin were suburban London kids raised on the glam theatrics of Bowie and T. Rex, swayed by decadence and romanticism. So while all their contemporaries were busy negating and demystifying, the Banshees cultivated an aura of magic and mystery, making punk something altogether less dour and more otherworldly. In the process, they inspired the early-'80s "positive punk" movement( Southern Death Cult, Gene Loves Jezebel), which later evolved into Goth.
The Banshees' first gig, in September of 1976, was a shambolic mess. Sioux, Severin, and pals Sid Vicious and Marco Pirroni (later of Adam & the Ants) borrowed the Sex Pistols' equipment and massacred unlikely songs such as "The Lord's Prayer" and the Bay City Rollers' "Young Love." When the Banshees' brilliant debut The Scream materialized two years later , Vicious and Pirroni had been replaced by Kenny Morris and John McKay, and the band had found a sonic identity: twisted art-punk that is at once jagged and melodic, McKay's thick gashes of guitar chafing against Siouxsie's caustic wail. Sioux's and Severin's lyrics are riddled with imagery of psychic and bodily fragmentation, but the morbid vibe is leavened with black humor. In "Suburban Relapse," for instance, Siouxsie plays a housewife driven berserk by domesticity: '"Whilst finishing a chore/I asked myself 'what for?'"

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