""A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" Siouxsie And The Banshees Rock, College Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Punk 1982 This eclectic fifth album was an arguable creative (if not commercial) peak by Siouxsie And The Banshees in their third official line-up (Siouxsie, Steve Severin, Budgie, & John McGeoch, which was the same line-up for "Juju ".). They have said this is their second favourite of their albums (next to the truthfully inferior "Peepshow") six years later. While not using as many exotic instruments as they did on "Kaleidoscope" two years before, they use what they have to a greater effect. The superb album and single artwork (by Rocking Russian) is inspired by the paintings of Gustav Klimt, in particular his paintings "The Kiss", "Death & Life", "The Blood Of Fish" ("Melt!") & "Danae" ("Slowdive"). The title "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" refers to an establishment in the USA where you paid to spend the night with a celebrity look-a-like of your choice. We start with the eerie, sinister echoing guitar of the haunting "Cascade" (originally was going to be the follow-up to their majestic non-LP single "Fireworks"), where the sparse arrangement and Siouxsie's now perfectly developed voice singing "my chest was full of eels, pushing through my usual skin", leads to an actual cascade of spectacular sound as engaging as anything they've ever recorded, making it a comfortable addition into their song list. The botanical "Green Fingers" (inspired by a "Night Gallery" episode of the same name), however, manages to stand out a whole lot more with it's catchy hook (instrumented with a recorder courtesy of John McGeoch) and wonderful tense verses and occasional sparkling bells. A major standout, "Obsession" comes next. Siouxsie has said "It was while we were putting the guitar part to tape that it happened, something so peculiar that it would almost change the arrangement of the song. Psycho guitar was stabbing out from the speakers, when suddenly the tape machine began to slow down. Slower and slower, almost to a dead stop, and then just as mysteriously it began to correct itself. Nobody tampered with the machine, which after its brief spasm, was now working perfectly. The effect it had on the guitar part was wonderful; but what had caused it? There was no logical explanation. Could it have been the passing spirit of somebody who once used the studio, somebody who was viciously murdered or perhaps died there years prior to this incident? We will never know what happened but the results can still be heard on "Obsession"." This leads to an extremely haunting production and lyric featuring overdubbed breathing, spiky guitar stabbing, a violin (from a particularly good session player called Anne Stephenson) and bells (by Siouxsie herself). It was apparently inspired by a friend of Siouxsie's who became obsessed with a neighbour, breaking into their room and leaving locks of pubic hair. A less adventurous number "She's A Carnival" is very good classic Banshees, very catchy (if slightly repetitive to some) and sinister sounding. It is said to be inspired by club DJ Princess Julia (though not actually about her). "Circle" (about the repeating nature of family traits) is one of those songs where they were doing something very different, but it just didn't turn out as good as their other experiments. The looping violin sample is used to a good affect, and this song provides an enjoyable listen. John McGeoch plays the chimes of Big Ben all through the song. "Melt!" is in turn an extremely successful experiment and will forever be a Banshees classic and was a worthy single. The spaghetti-western-esque guitars give this the most exotic feel of songs on a very exotic album. The heavenly background vocals in addition to everything else make this one of the best songs of the experimental early 80s era (and second most original, beaten only by Kate Bush's "The Dreaming" for me. "Slowdive" comes third). An interesting note about the 12'' disc of "Melt!" is that on side A, "Here comes the bride" is scratched into the run out groove. Side B says "Big, fat and wide" "Painted Bird" is the biggest standout of the less experimental tracks and was inspired by the Jerzey Koskinski book of the same name. It has a very enjoyable unexpected interlude at the end, and is surprisingly catchy for something so obscure-sounding. The jazz-goth spider-like "Cocoon" is the track that sounds nothing like anything else they've ever made, yet doesn't grab you by the throat to the same extent as the others. The Banshees chose to end things with a masterpiece in the form of "Slowdive", an astonishing and scary number full of danceable and menacing drums courtesy of Budgie (who does a wonderful job throughout) plus energetic and freezing string-work from Virginia Hewes and Caroline LaVelle, all the while Siouxsie spits out verbal poison while she sings "get your head down to the ground, shake it all around - a dirty sound". The A side of the 12'' single has "Oh We're In The Dips" scratched into the run out groove. Not as successful, dark, or as long as Juju, though in many people's opinion much better, "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" is an essential in any Banshees fan, casual or not. It would also be a worthy addition to lovers of experimental music. Siouxsie (who was at this time taking LSD recreationally "I never had one bad trip!") had written sexual (though not sensual) lyrics that reoccur throughout this album more than any other Banshees release ("Cascade" features the line "shining like a wedding ring, barbed like sex" among more subliminal lyrics throughout. "Green Fingers" seems to be about masturbation, and "Melt!" has lines like "insatiable desire of suicide... in sex", "Handcuffed in lace, blood and sperm", and "pulling away from a funeral of flowers with my hand between your legs"). Also, it was a great decision to keep in little unintentionally recorded studio warblings and "mistakes" on "Obsession" (the supernatural studio experience), "She's A Carnival" (a "did you get that?" towards the end) and "Slowdive" (a talented session string player heatedly sighs "oh my god!" from exhaustion somewhere in the middle). One can only wish that they had included the wonderful "Fireworks", which also featured similar studio personal touches."
Into the Light
J. Brady | PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC United States | 06/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Kaleidoscope" is the sound of the band moving from black and white to primary colours ( literally evident on the album cover logo itself ) then A Kiss in the Dreamhouse is a full-on leap into day glow. It is their psychedelic masterpiece. Lyrically very vivid, each song paints a picture, and sonically more adventurous than they had ever been before. Indeed, the dark and sinister Juju, which preceeded it, almost painted this band into a corner they might not ever have been able to escape from, and gave them the unwarranted and unecessary "Goth" tag they have been saddled with ever since. A Kiss in the Dreamhouse is no one trick pony. SO many bases are covered. From lite cocktail jazz ( "Cacoon", which was ripped off by Robert Smith for his band the Cure's "The Lovecats" single a year later) to heavier rockers like "She's a Carnival" and the single "Slowdive." Even the slow numbers on this album are just so gorgeous, so rich in instrumentation and voices, like the brilliant "Obsession", with its bells and creepy death-march tempo, and "Melt!" one of Siouxsie's finest vocal performances ever captured on tape. This is an album best enjoyed while listening through a good set of headphones, there is so much going on deep in the mix, instruments and voices buried below the surface that can never be fully appreciated coming out of your car stereo for instance. In my opinion the second best Siouxsie and the Banshees album ( my favourite is "Kaleidoscope" ) I am afraid this album has been deleted, because I do not see it for sale as a new item here on Amamzon. I hope that is a mistake or misprint on their part, as it would be a shame, criminal, really, for this incredible album to be unavailable. An essential purchase for fans, and a great introduction for newcomers to the band."
Black eyeliner at it's most seductive
J. Brady | 08/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Siouxsie and the Banshee's "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" is the peak of the band's recording history, and showcases their odd appeal and shimmering originality best. the murky guitar in Cascade, the whirling dervish mix of carnival effects, postpunk distorted guitar, and Siouxsie's psychedelic singing and lyrics in "She's A Carnival," "painted Bird"'s desperate chant and the jazzy, downbeat and hummable "Cocoon" are reason enough to buy this album. Then you get the gush and pagan majesty of "Green Fingers," the stealth black eerieness of "Obsession" and the cathedral ambience of "melt!" What more do you people want? Buy this album and go look spectral somewhere."
Worth Every Penny for "Green Fingers" Alone!
marc | ca | 11/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This isn't my favorite Banshees' album, but it is a masterpiece nevertheless. I had forgotten what a great song "Green Fingers" is and how the Banshees' work is still fresh and invigorating, so much better than the sorry pop out there now. The sparkly, Klimt-inspired artwork on the album cover is proof positive that there will never be a group as unique and interesting like Siouxsie and the Banshees."
firstname.lastname@example.org | 03/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Never has Siouxsie's voice been as temptuous as on "Cascade". Just close your eyes and LISTEN to her voice, it's as if being engulfed in velvet. "Obsession" is an amazing testament to the madness only Siouxsie is able to capture. "Green Fingers" and "Painted Bird" are the two songs that should've been singles though "Melt!" and "Slowdive" do have more of a haunting quality. "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" leaves the impression of having made love yet waking up alone, feeling cheated yet craving more."