A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1982
Review by: Andreas Georgi
A Kiss in the Dreamhouse is Siouxsie and the Banshees’s fifth album. It follows their two most acclaimed albums. Kaleidoscope (1980) and Juju (1981). Those two albums are rightfully regarded as excellent & innovative works that have been very influential and need to be heard. A Kiss in the Dreamhouse, on the other hand, is often given short shrift in comparison. In contrast to Juju’s harder sound, this album has a lusher feel to it. Strings are used on a number of songs, and Siouxsie’s vocals are more melodic. It also employs a lot of overdubs and studio treatment that give it a psychedelic feel that matches the Klimt inspired album cover. Apparently Siouxsie commented at some point that she had been experimenting with LSD or some other psychedelic drug at the time. Many of the songs, like “Cascade”, “Melt” have trance-like grooves, especially “Circles”, which is almost like a repeated mantra. “Obsession” is at the same time sexy and creepy, very successfully creates a dark atmosphere with minimal instrumentation. “Slowdive” is a dancey number that got some play in clubs in the day, and has a good groove, though it’s not as good as their other efforts in that vein, like “Cities in Dust” or “Peek-a-Boo”. “Cocoon” mixes the dark vibe with a bopping jazz-like bass line. It’s a fun if not entirely successful attempt. The bass player is a bit clunky and out of his league here, unfortunately, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. The lush “Melt” is another highlight, but it’s all good, actually.
This album would be the end of their peak period, IMO. They would continue to make very interesting music, and reach other high points, but future albums would be much more erratic than their best work. The crucial ones are The Scream, Kaleidoscope, Juju and this one.
This review is also posted on Amazon here.