Join Hands

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Join Hands
Studio album by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Released 7 September 1979
Recorded 1979
Genre Post-punk
Length 42:29
Label Polydor
Producer Nils Stevenson, Mike Stavrou
Siouxsie and the Banshees chronology
The Scream
(1978)
Join Hands
(1979)
Kaleidoscope
(1980)
2015 reissue vinyl alternative sleeve
Singles from Join Hands
  1. "Playground Twist"
    Released: 28 July 1979

Join Hands is the second studio album by English post-punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees, released in September 1979 on Polydor. It peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart. One single was taken from the album, "Playground Twist".

It was the last album with the band's first recorded lineup, as guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris quit the group after a disagreement at the beginning of the tour.[1] Musically, the album was in a darker vein than their debut album The Scream.[1]

The album was reissued on vinyl in an alternative sleeve for Record Store Day in April 2015 : the tracklisting included a previously unreleased song on vinyl, "Infantry".[2]

Background and music[edit]

Siouxsie and the Banshees at the Guards Memorial in London

The opening track "Poppy Day" was based on John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields", which was written in 1915 after the loss of a friend during a battle in World War I. The poppy reproduced on the album cover is a symbol of Remembrance Day. On the inner sleeve, the mention "2 minutes of silence" was added next to "Poppy Day".[3]

The second part of "Mother / Oh Mein Papa" is an interpretation of the German song "O mein Papa" with words by Siouxsie. Two voices sing simultaneous love and hatred for the same mother.[4]

The closing track on the album is a studio recording of "The Lord's Prayer", the song that they were famous for playing at their debut live performance at the 100 Club Punk Festival in September 1976.

Commenting on the music, Jon Savage wrote a few days before the album's release: "The songs are delivered with the stifling intensity of inner violence in a locked room".[5]

Release and critical reception[edit]

Join Hands was issued on 7 September 1979. It reached number 13 in the UK Albums Chart.[6] Guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris left the band two days after the album's release before a concert in Aberdeen.[7]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[8]
Melody Maker favourable[9]
Record Mirror favourable[10]
Sounds 4.5/5 stars[11]

Upon its release, the reviews were mostly favourable. Sounds gave the album a grade of 4.5 out of 5, with reviewer Pete Silverton noting a change in the sound: "The mix is different to the last album. Now there's a clarity which frames Sue's voice like it was a thing of treasure".[11] Silverton also wrote that some of the songs have "Siouxsie's voice double-tracked with devastating effect".[11] Melody Maker reviewer Jon Savage described the first track, "Poppy Day", as a "short, powerful evocation of the Great War graveyards in Flanders." He also wrote about "Placebo Effect": it "has a stunning flanged guitar intro, chasing clinical lyrics covering some insertion or operation." About "Icon", Savage wrote: "the brilliantly reverbed guitar is a perfect foil for Siouxsie's soaring and, for once, emotional vocal."[9] Record Mirror also hailed the record, and qualified it as "a dangerous and volatile work which should be heard."[10]

In a retrospective review published in 1989, NME wrote that Join Hands was "a more absorbing, haunting LP" than their debut album. Reviewer Steve Lamacq rated it 8 out of 10, though he said that the version of "The Lord's Prayer" was "out of place".[12] AllMusic considered "Icon" the best track on the album, commenting that it "survives an unpromising beginning to open out into a faster main section with fuller vocal sound and gutsier guitar work", but journalist David Cleary panned the rest of Join Hands, describing it as "almost uniformly grim, with dragging tempos, bleak lyrics, long and wandering free-form structures, static and often unfocused harmony and thick, colorless arrangements."[8]

Legacy[edit]

AllMusic commented that "some of [Join Hands'] selections appear to strongly anticipate the work of Joy Division's second album, Closer, especially 'Placebo Effect', whose guitar sound was a clear inspiration for that of the Manchester band's song 'Colony'."[8]

Join Hands later inspired other critically acclaimed musicians. LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy expressed an appreciation of the album – the first records he bought were "Siouxsie and the Banshees' Join Hands, The Fall's Grotesque and The Birthday Party's "Nick the Stripper", all in one day. And all three of those records are three of my favourite things I've ever heard."[13]

In late 2008, Morrissey chose the track "Mother" in his playlist when he was interviewed for BBC Radio 2.[14]

Musical style[edit]

Join Hands is considered as a post-punk album by both music historian Clinton Heylin[15] and AllMusic.[8] Due to several of its songs, it is also seen as a precursor of the gothic rock genre by some critics, including Simon Reynolds.[16] Its "funereal" atmosphere "inspired a host of gothic impersonators", according to Mojo, but "none of whom matched the Banshees' run of singles".[17]

Popular culture[edit]

In Control, a film relating the story of Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis, the sleeve of Join Hands is shown in a scene where the character of Curtis' wife, Deborah (who co-wrote the film), looks through her husband's record collection.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Siouxsie Sioux, except as noted, all music composed by Siouxsie and the Banshees (Sioux, Steven Severin, John McKay, Kenny Morris), except as noted.

Side A
No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Poppy Day"   John McCrae 2:04
2. "Regal Zone"   Severin 3:47
3. "Placebo Effect"     4:40
4. "Icon"   Severin 5:27
5. "Premature Burial"     5:58
Side B
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Playground Twist"       3:01
2. "Mother / Oh Mein Papa"   Sioux, Geoffrey Parsons, ("Oh Mein Papa") John Turner ("Oh Mein Papa") Siouxsie and the Banshees, Paul Burkhard ("Oh Mein Papa") 3:22
3. "The Lord's Prayer"   traditional, Sioux   14:09

Personnel[edit]

Siouxsie and the Banshees
Technical
  • Mike Stavrou – production, engineering
  • Nils Stevenson – production, engineering
  • Ian Morais – engineering assistance
  • Rob O'Connor – sleeve design
  • Adrian Boot – sleeve photography
  • John Maybury – sleeve illustration

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Goddard, Simon. Mozipedia: The Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and the Smiths [Sioux, Siouxsie entry]. Ebury Press. p. 393. 
  2. ^ "Siouxsie and the Banshees to reissue ‘Join Hands’ on vinyl with original artwork, tracklist". Slicingupeyeballs.com. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Join Hands [Inner sleeve], Polydor POLD 5024 (2442 164), 1979 
  4. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (29 September 1979). "Humourless? Us? That’s not funny...". Sounds. 
  5. ^ Johns 1989, p. 41.
  6. ^ "Siouxsie & the Banshees [uk charts]". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Paytress, Mark (2003). Siouxsie and the Banshees: The Authorised Biography. Sanctuary. ISBN 1860743757. 
  8. ^ a b c d Cleary, David. "Join Hands – Siouxsie and the Banshees review". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Savage, Jon (1 September 1979). "Join Hands – review". Melody Maker. 
  10. ^ a b Gurr, Ronnie (1 September 1979). "Join Hands – review". Record Mirror. 
  11. ^ a b c Silverton, Peter (1 September 1979). "Queen of the New Establishment [album review]". Sounds. 
  12. ^ Lamacq, Steve (22 July 1989). CD Siouxsie and the Banshees. NME. 
  13. ^ Pulver, Sarah (September 2005). "LCD Soundsystem". Thrasher. 
  14. ^ "The Janice Long Show with Morrissey". The Janice Long Show. 21 October 2008. BBC Radio 2. 
  15. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2006). Babylon's Burning: From Punk to Grunge. Penguin Books. p. 552. ISBN 0-14-102431-3. 
  16. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2005). Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. Faber and Faber. This side of the Banshees emerged on 1979's Join Hands with "Icon" and the protracted 'cover version' of "The Lords Prayer" – songs that etched the template for goth as a modern pagan cult tapping into atavistic pre-Christian urges. [...] Combine Join Hands and Juju and you have roughly 70 per cent of goth's sound and lyrical themes. 
  17. ^ "Siouxsie and the Banshees: The Scream". The Mojo Collection. Canongate Books. 2007. p. 413. ISBN 184767643X. Retrieved 14 June 2013. The funereal follow-up, Join Hands (1979), inspired a host of gothic impersonators, none of whom matched the banshees' run of singles, [...]" 
  18. ^ Corbijn, Anton. "Control" [Excerpt - The "Love will tear us Apart" scene]. Momentum Pictures. YouTube. 2008.

Sources[edit]

  • Johns, Brian (1989). Entranced: the Siouxsie and the Banshees story. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-1773-6.