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
Join Hands
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. It was released on 7 September 1979 by record label Polydor.

Background, music and release[edit]

Siouxsie and the Banshees at The Memorial Guards in London

The opening track "Poppy Day" is 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 sleeve is a symbol of Remembrance Day.

The second part of "Mother / Oh Mein Papa" is an interpretation of the German song "O mein Papa". The last number is a studio recording of "The Lord's Prayer", the song that they are famous for playing in their debut live performance at the 100 Club Punk Festival in September 1976.

Join Hands was released on 7 September 1979. It reached No. 13 in the UK Albums Chart.[1] Guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris left the band shortly after the album's release.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[3]
Melody Maker favourable[4]
Record Mirror favourable[5]
Sounds 4.5/5 stars[6]

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".[6] Silverton also wrote that some of the songs have "Siouxsie's voice double-tracked with devastating effect".[6] 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."[4] Record Mirror also hailed the record, and qualified it as "a dangerous and volatile work which should be heard."[5]

In a retrospective review issued 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".[7] AllMusic considered "Icon" as the best track of 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."[3]


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'."[3]

Join Hands later influenced 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."[8]

In late 2008, Morrissey chose the track "Mother" in his playlist when he was interviewed for BBC Radio 2.[9]

Musical style[edit]

Join Hands is considered as a post-punk album by music historian Clinton Heylin: it was only categorised under this genre in his book Babylon's Burning: From Punk to Grunge.[10] The record is also only classified under this term by Allmusic.[3]

However, the Join Hands album (due to a couple of songs) is also seen as a precursor of the gothic rock genre by a few critics, including Simon Reynolds.[11] Its "funereal" atmosphere "inspired a host of gothic impersonators", according to Mojo, but "none of whom matched the Banshees' run of singles".[12]

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
6. "Playground Twist"     3:01
Side B
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "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
2. "The Lord's Prayer"   traditional, Sioux   14:09


Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • 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


  1. ^ "Siouxsie & the Banshees | Artist | Official Charts". Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Paytress, Mark (2003). Siouxsie and the Banshees: The Authorised Biography. Sanctuary. ISBN 1860743757. 
  3. ^ a b c d Cleary, David. "Join Hands – Siouxsie and the Banshees : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Savage, Jon (1 September 1979). "Join Hands – review". Melody Maker. 
  5. ^ a b Gurr, Ronnie (1 September 1979). "Join Hands – review". Record Mirror. 
  6. ^ a b c Silverton, Peter (1 September 1979). "Queen of the New Establishment [album review]". Sounds. 
  7. ^ Lamacq, Steve (22 July 1989). "CD Siouxsie and the Banshees". NME. 
  8. ^ Pulver, Sarah (September 2005). "LCD Soundsystem". Thrasher. 
  9. ^ "The Janice Long Show with Morissey". The Janice Long Show. 21 October 2008. BBC Radio 2.
  10. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2006). Babylon's Burning: From Punk to Grunge. Penguin Books. p. 552. ISBN 0-14-102431-3. 
  11. ^ 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." 
  12. ^ "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, [...]""