Peepshow (album)

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Peepshow
Studio album by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Released 5 September 1988
Recorded January–June 1988
Genre Alternative rock
Length 42:41
Label Polydor (UK)
Geffen/Warner Bros. (USA)
Producer Siouxsie and the Banshees, Mike Hedges
Siouxsie and the Banshees chronology
Through the Looking Glass
(1987)
Peepshow
(1988)
Superstition
(1991)
Singles from Peepshow
  1. "Peek-a-Boo"
    Released: 18 July 1988
  2. "The Killing Jar"
    Released: 19 September 1988
  3. "The Last Beat of My Heart"
    Released: 21 November 1988
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Q 5/5 stars[2]

Peepshow is the ninth studio album by the English band Siouxsie and the Banshees and their first as a quintet. With the arrival of multi-instrumentalist Martin McCarrick, Peepshow was one of their most musically complex albums, including the singles "Peek-a-Boo" and "The Last Beat of My Heart". The album was both a critical and a commercial success, peaking at number 68 on the Billboard 200 chart.[3]

Reception[edit]

Peepshow was received very warmly by critics. Q wrote in its five-star review: "Peepshow takes place in some distorted fairground of the mind where weird and wonderful shapes loom."[2] Melody Maker highly acclaimed its first single "Peek-a-Boo" and called it "quite the most astounding British record" of 1988, and "a brightly unexpected mixture of black steel and pop disturbance."[4] The paper also praised the band for the ballad "The Last Beat of My Heart". Chris Roberts said: "the infinite pinnacle is their one joint effort, the bravura hymn "The Last Beat of My Heart". As Martin McCarrick's accordion and Budgie's directly intelligent rhythms underlie its pathos, this elegy is translated by Sioux with capital beatitude. It's the Banshees' most courageous arabesque in some time."[5] Record Mirror also particularly enjoyed that song when reviewing the album. "The highlight is the restrained 'The Last Beat of My Heart', where Siouxsie's voice explores new ground as she caresses a haunting melody."[6] NME noted a change of approach in the musical direction: "Peepshow is the best Banshees record since A Kiss in the Dreamhouse because it's the Banshees deciding to be a pop band rather than a rock group".[7]

Spin published a glowing review of the album in their November issue. Critic Tony Fletcher first insisted on "Peek-A-Boo" and wrote it is "a deconstruction and reconstruction of a backwards Banshees backing track, its mood fell in perfectly with their beloved London's summer fascination with the sparsity and confusion that call Acid House, Psychedelic and how!

Siouxsie and the Banshees with Martin McCarrick and Jon Klein in 1988, left to right: Martin McCarrick, Jon Klein, Budgie, Steven Severin and Siouxsie

A crazed assortment of fairground accordions, abrupt horns, distant to-and-fro vocals-exotic, erotic, a dancefloor winner for sure and all of three minutes short. A return so victorious that the Banshees had their biggest homeland hit in years before most of us knew that it was out".[8] Spin then talked about the other tracks in positive terms and said : there is "an almost lilting reggae feel to the beginning of "Killing Jar", a fragile, waif-like Siouxsie backed only by translucent guitar and a keyboard bass on the brief "RawHead and Bloody Bones", and a delightful, majestic ballad the likes of which it had been a safe assumption was beyond their reach on "The Last Beat of My heart". There is a more familiarly foreboding rock approach to "Scarecrow" and "Burn-Up", which sounds like "Spellbound" reworked into a furiously frenzied finale, angry and unforgiving. As Peepshow ends with the drawn-out "Rhapsody", Siouxsie's operatic flings seem to be a celebration of her reawakened capacity to thrill."[8] Fletcher concluded by this sentence : "she and the band sound as confident, abandoned and excited as when they started.[8]

Legacy[edit]

Bloc Party later praised "Peek-a-Boo" and their singer Kele Okereke said about this single: "it sounded like nothing else on this planet. This is just a pop song that they put out in the middle of their career that nobody knows about, but to me it sounded like the most current but most futuristic bit of guitar-pop music I've heard."[9]

The band DeVotchKa later covered "The Last Beat of My Heart" on the suggestion of Arcade Fire singer Win Butler.[10] The Decemberists have also praised "The Last Beat of My Heart" as one of their favourite Siouxsie and the Banshees songs.[11] In another genre, Sir Mix-a-Lot used a sample of "Peek-a-Boo" in his song "The (Peek-a-Boo) Game", from his 1989 album Seminar.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Peek-a-Boo"   Siouxsie Sioux 3:12
2. "The Killing Jar"   Severin 4:04
3. "Scarecrow"   Severin 5:06
4. "Carousel"   Sioux 4:26
5. "Burn-Up"   Sioux 4:32
6. "Ornaments of Gold"   Sioux 3:50
7. "Turn to Stone"   Severin 4:05
8. "Rawhead and Bloodybones"   Sioux 2:29
9. "The Last Beat of My Heart"   Severin/Sioux 4:30
10. "Rhapsody"   Severin 6:23

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel
  • Mike Hedges – producer, engineer

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1988 Billboard 200 68

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1988 "Peek-a-Boo" UK Singles Chart 16
1988 "Peek-a-Boo" US Hot Dance Club Play 14
1988 "Peek-a-Boo" US Modern Rock Tracks 1
1988 "Peek-a-Boo" US Hot 100 53
1988 "The Killing Jar" US Modern Rock Tracks 2
1989 "The Killing Jar" UK Singles Chart 41
1989 "The Killing Jar" US Hot Dance Club Play 37

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ned Raggett. "Peepshow – Siouxsie and the Banshees". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Cooper, Mark. Peepshow review. Q magazine. September 1988.
  3. ^ "Siouxsie & the banshees Billboard albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Mathur, Paul. "Born Again Savages". Melody Maker. 9 July 1988.
  5. ^ Roberts, Chris. Peepshow review. Melody Maker. 10 September 1988. "Peepshow is hesitantly hypnotic. It seduces you back. More than ever, the composition credits go to Sioux or Severin individually, this accounting for the suppliant proximity of their airs. Sioux's 'Turn To Stone' and 'Rawhead And Bloodybones' are simply disquieting, 'Burn Up' is flushed with Eros. Severin's 'Rhapsody' allows some stirring melodrama but the infinite pinnacle is their one joint effort, the bravura hymn 'The Last Beat Of My Heart'. As Martin McCarrick's accordion and Budgie's directly intelligent rhythms underlie it's pathos, this elegy is translated by Sioux with capital beatitude. It's the Banshees' most courageous arabesque in some time. If they have enough majesty in their guts to put it out as a single we really will be witnessing a renaissance."
  6. ^ Murphy, Kevin. Peepshow review. Record Mirror. 10 September 1988
  7. ^ Shelley, Jim. "Ornament of Gold". NME. 24 September 1988.
  8. ^ a b c Fletcher, Tony. "Peepshow" review. Spin magazine. November 1988. Page 92-93.
  9. ^ O'Kane, Josh (18 September 2008). "Talking Bloc during Harvest Jazz". [Here] New Brunswick. Retrieved 17 March 2012. "With the new record, he said he was inspired by a song written years ago by Siouxsie and the Banshees called Peek-a-boo. "I heard it for the first time, and it sounded like nothing else on this planet. This is just a pop song that they put out in the middle of their career that nobody knows about, but to me it sounded like the most current but most futuristic bit of guitar-pop music I've heard. I thought, that'd be cool, to make music that people might not get at the time, but in ten years' time, people would revisit it."" 
  10. ^ "DeVotchka". laphil.com. April 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2011. "The Curse Your Little Heart EP showcases the band's versatility, reinterpreting tracks by the Velvet Underground, Frank Sinatra, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and others, in addition to taking on one of their own older songs. Could the band itself even have predicted what would transpire from the Arcade Fire's Win Butler's suggestion to the band that they take on 'Last Beat of My Heart?' The end result is the center-piece of the EP, a grand and soaring take on the song; a testament to the band's true unique ability to transform nearly anything via a sound only DeVotchka can create, and perhaps a look at the epic nature of where the band's own recordings may move in the future." 
  11. ^ Meloy, Colin. Decemberists interview.Pitchfork.com. 15 September 2006. "The Last Beat of My Heart" : "It's one of my favorite Siouxsie and the Banshees songs".