No.1 16/06/84  
  Hyaena Poster Click Here For Bigger ScanWelcome back to the Banshees' glittering world of terror and hocus pocus.

The subject matter maybe familiarly obsessive but this is a transitional LP.  Using a heady mixture of strings, keyboards and 'exotic' instruments, the Banshees have done their best to leave their old dervish rock style behind.  The results are intriguing, if a trifle meandering.

If Siouxsie still wants to matter, she needs to bring this new brew to the boil before she becomes too private to count.

Back to the fray, Banshees!  


Nick Adams 



  Webmaster 26/10/01  
  Hyaena Poster Click Here For Bigger ScanCarrying on from the richness of Dreamhouse, trying hard to better it and failing. Exotic instruments to the fore. Has the feel of deserts and spaghetti westerns. That word lush again, as the strains of Dazzle fade into existence, not as inventive as their previous use on outings such as Fireworks and Slowdive. In fact they play it reasonably safe on this one, but Dazzle is a pure crescendo of a song and one of their best album openers. 

So what follows? Well a huge dose of Robert Smith. Spangly, twangy, western style guitars and plinky plonky keyboard riffs, the exception being the beautiful free style playing on Swimming Horses, possibly one of their most underrated songs and a brave choice for a single, considering it followed their biggest chart success Dear Prudence. Lyrically a mishmash of metaphors that somehow Siouxsie makes sense of, and she absolutely yearns on Swimming Horses, perhaps the Banshees first truly impassioned moment. 

Sex is out, blood and guts is in. Trying to repeat Dreamhouse's intricate sound, the band overproduce themselves and throw everything into the mix and then iron it out until it's almost too smooth, and the keyboards are sprinkled liberally over everything, giving the album on the whole a tweeness that verges on parody. 

Too much time spent in the studio, still great songs, but improved greatly when played live, where the raw and ready element of the Banshees kicks in. 

For once squeezing non album track Dear Prudence in there for the US release works well. 

Let Go works perfectly as a b-side to Swimming Horses, as does I Promise on the flip of Dazzle, always felt I Promise was the Banshees being the Cocteau Twins playing at being the Banshees though. 

Great album artwork brought to the fore on the initial copies with the embossed sleeve. 

Robert Smith certainty brought playfulness to the Banshees music, but I'm thankful he lasted no longer than the one studio album.


  NME 1984  
  Hyaena Advert/Poster - Click Here For Bigger ScanThe night Siouxsie wore her hyaena suit and made mischief of one kind of another God called her "Wild Thing!" and she threatened to engulf him in her blackness.  God annoyed sent her to the video playpen without any supper, wherein she was condemned to wail with the other nasties.  The multiply screens roared their terrible groans and nashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and flashed their terrible claws, till Sioux, bored, caught their yellow gaze and snapped "be still!" And they were so frightened they crowned their Queen of the place where the Wild Things are.  Since when, insensibly pleased as a punch drunk Judy, she has refused to leave the playpen, "Now" you can hear Siouxsie cry, "let the wild rumpus start!"  "Dazzle" opens this wild rumpus so well you'll wish for it to go on all night, or at least as long as the 12" version, which has Sioux queening it rather splendidly, marshalling massive blocks of orchestral noise and sending them to do battle with marvellous queenly irresponsibility.  When she promises a "jamboree of surprises" the Wild Things are beside themselves with glee.  But they discover the jamboree bags have been opened, all the sweeties gone, no surprises here, only used wrappers carrying scraps of screenplay and crumpled stills.  By the time they reach one marked "Swimming Horses" enchanted though they are by the jaunty piano into getting lost in it's tortuous sexual labyrinths, they're ready to believe their Queen's "words fall in ruins", just like the song says.  They might be as prone to the emotional value of ruins as the next Wild Thing, but the over familiarity of word and image sifted from the ashes of God's censorious fire have been piled high to shore up a crumbling notion of Banshee black heartedness.  On hearing thunder roar on cue to the mention of lightning, setting the guitars off whinnying in the Wicker Man like "Blow The House Down", the mutter of discontented Wild Things grows.  "Why, this is so obviously Sioux it might just as well be a Sex Gang Child", the Wild Things curse.  Not even the giddy chain of exotic noise and naughty phrase, nor the intrusion of phantom organ and the guitars' spidery sideways scuttles, nor the rapidly expanding majesty of Sioux's voice, can disguise the frailty of "Hyaena's" paper video palace.  With the fury of Wild Things betrayed, a wild rumpus begins good and proper with their storming of the Winter Queen's palace.  It's foundations scattered like scraps of newsprint in the wind, Siouxsie, onetime Queen of All The Wild Things, is sent tumbling to the floor with a bump....She wakes up in the night of her very own room where she finds her supper waiting.  It is still hot.

Biba Kopf 1984



  Melody Maker 09/06/84  
  Hyaena Advert/Poster - Click Here For Bigger ScanThe laughing dog.  The scavenger.  The survivor, picking over the bones of the past to nourish the present.  At times ignoble, essentially alive.  This is the Banshees.

Their prey may have varied over the years, but it's still the same old carrion carry-on.  At their transcendental best, the Banshees are a million times more than the sum of their parts.  That arrogantly independent attitude, those embarrassing excursions into the occult, the creeping spell and the sudden rush of blood is so unique that it takes on a life of its own.

There are many such moments on 'Hyaena', moments where the Banshees are caught up in the revelry of their own creations.  Parts of it are so wistfully carefree that it's impossible not to credit Robert Smith as the talisman - his irreverence seems to course through everything.

'Take Me Back' is the Banshees rollicking like some primitive jazz combo drunk on the Good Lord's wine.  On 'Belladonna', Smith's liquid guitar relaxes Sioux to the extent that she drops a few masks to reveal her vulnerability.  When the siren sings "daylight devours your unguarded hours", she's illuminating her own predicament so acutely it surely can't be coincidence.

'Dazzle', too, is naively daring:  Siouxsie's voice, framed alone against the firmament of strings.  It could be Lloyd Webber's Cats or something by Vaughn Williams.  You can get impressed, wrapped up and lost in this.  That's the beauty but then there's the complacency.  'Running Town' tries to sound eerie but instead of evoking the awful truth behind the clown's cheery mask, it just sounds giddy and silly.  And 'Hunger For This' and 'Pointing Bone' are just the Banshees being the Banshees.

I doubt 'Hyaena' could be any other way.  It urges itself to the turning point where we stop assuming what the Banshees should be and start accepting that they can do anything they like.

'Hyaena' is an immaculate conception.  Again

Steve Sutherland.  09/06/84



  Unknown source 1984  
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