Hyæna

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Hyæna
Siouxsie & the Banshees-Hyaena.jpg
Studio album by
Released8 June 1984
Recorded1983-1984
GenrePost-punk, neo-psychedelia
Length44:15
LanguageEnglish
Label
Producer
Siouxsie and the Banshees chronology
A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
(1982)
Hyæna
(1984)
Tinderbox
(1986)
Siouxsie Sioux chronology
Feast
(1983)
Hyæna
(1983)
Tinderbox
(1986)
Singles from Hyæna
  1. "Swimming Horses"
    Released: 16 March 1984
  2. "Dazzle"
    Released: 25 May 1984

Hyæna is the sixth studio album by British alternative rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees, released in 1984. The opening track, "Dazzle", featured strings played by musicians of the (LSO) London Symphonic Orchestra, a 27-piece orchestra called the "Chandos Players";[1] it was scored from a tune that Siouxsie Sioux had composed on piano.[2] Hyæna is the only studio album that guitarist Robert Smith of the Cure composed and recorded with Siouxsie and the Banshees.

In the United States, Hyæna was the first Banshees studio album to be released on Geffen Records, which also reissued the rest of the band's catalog in America. Prior to the release of the album, "Dear Prudence" became the band's biggest hit in the UK, reaching No. 3 in September of the previous year.[3] The song was intended to be a stand-alone single in Europe, and as it was not issued as a single in North America, it was added to the track listing of the American version of Hyæna.

Hyæna was reissued in a remastered, expanded edition in 2009. A 180 gram vinyl reissue of the album, remastered from the original ¼” tapes and cut half-speed at Abbey Road Studios by Miles Showell, was released in December 2018.

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Melody Makerfavourable[5]
The Quietusvery favourable[6]

The album was mainly well received upon release. Melody Maker wrote: "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'".[5]

The album received very favourable retrospective reviews. AllMusic critic Stephen Cook gave a 4.5-star rating to Hyæna and wrote: "The emphasis here is on layered arrangements and pop tunes disguised as art-house production numbers ("Dazzle"); tasteful horn and keyboard parts expand the group's guitar-dominated sound and provide Siouxsie with an airy and dreamlike backdrop in which to fully display her considerable vocal talents".[4] When the album was reissued, The Quietus said: "[It was] their most experimental work, Smith's presence is keenly felt on the disciplined execution of the grandiose "Dazzle" or the starkly seductive "Swimming Horses". But the real treasures were buried deep within the album. The lysergic Spaghetti Western twang of "Bring Me The Head of the Preacher Man" is evocative in its execution while the densely epic "Blow The House Down" finds Smith indelibly stamping his mark on the track courtesy of some his finest guitar work".[6]

Hyæna was namechecked by Brett Anderson, the singer of Suede.[7] James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers hired producer Hedges because he loved the sound on lead single "Swimming Horses". Bradfield stated: "Swimming Horses' by the Banshees – what a fucking record that is! [...] I remember thinking 'You really care about that record. I'm gonna have to chase that record down." He also mentioned the importance of the drums: "I loved [...] Banshees records where everything starts with the drums".[8]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Siouxsie Sioux, except where noted; all music composed by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Side one
No.TitleLyricsLength
1."Dazzle" 5:30
2."We Hunger" 3:31
3."Take Me Back" 3:03
4."Belladonna"Severin4:30
5."Swimming Horses" 4:06
Side two
No.TitleLyricsLength
6."Bring Me the Head of the Preacher Man"Severin4:37
7."Running Town" 4:04
8."Pointing Bone"Severin3:49
9."Blow the House Down" 6:59
2009 remastered issue bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
10."Dear Prudence" 
11."Dazzle" (12" Glamour mix) 
12."Baby Piano (Part 1)" 
13."Baby Piano (Part 2)" 

The two "Baby Piano" tracks are, respectively, a short piano demo of "Dazzle" and the string backing to the album version of the song.

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel

  • Robin Canter – woodwind
  • The Chandos Players – strings
  • Mike Hedges – producer and engineer
  • David Kemp – assistant engineer
  • Frank Barretta - assistant engineer
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees – producers

References[edit]

  1. ^ Billy Chainsaw. "Phase Three Issues Three & Four". The Siouxsie and the Banshees File [Official magazine]. 1984.
  2. ^ Billy Chainsaw. "Phase Three Issue Two". The Siouxsie and the Banshees File [Official magazine]. 1984.
  3. ^ Brian Johns (1989). Entranced: the Siouxsie and the Banshees story. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-1773-6.
  4. ^ a b Stephen Cook. "Hyaena – Siouxsie and the Banshees". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  5. ^ a b Steve Sutherland. "Pedigree Chums [Hyæna review]". Melody Maker (9 June 1984).
  6. ^ a b Julian Marszalek (10 April 2009). "Siouxsie & the Banshees reissues: A kiss in the Dreamhouse, Nocturne, Hyæna, Tinderbox". Thequietus.com. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Some Current Fascinations". brettanderson.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2016.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  8. ^ Price, Simon (2 June 2016). "And If You Need An Explanation: Manic Street Preachers interviewed". Thequietus.com. Retrieved 22 June 2016.