A YEAR IN MUSIC: SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES – A Kiss in the Dreamhouse (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.

A YEAR IN MUSIC: ELOY – Time to Turn (1982)

Review by: Alex Alex

Time to Turn released by a German band Eloy in 1982 is the last “true” Eloy album. Indeed, the last song on it, noticeably named “Say, Is It Really True?”, gives an impression of someone awakening from a long dream, so sad and completely un-Eloyish it sounds.

Never reaching the magic of the previous year’s Planets, Time to Turn though works perfectly as the continuation of it. The songs are much shorter, much lighter, much poppier, yet they are all unmistakably Eloy, brewed by the secret recipe which even the band itself completely lost the following year and was never able to find again.

The title song “Time to Turn” is one of a better-known Eloy hits. It can remind somewhat of Pink Floyd, as many other Eloy numbers do. However, as Eloy themselves once put it, there is nothing especially bad in that comparison – Eloy sounding like Pink Floyd is perfectly fine for Pink Floyd could never sound like Eloy.

Overall, for those preferring the “space-rock” Eloy era this album is indispensable. It is best listened right after the “Planets” and knowing the two might be enough for an occasional passer-by. You may then travel back in time and listen to, perhaps more majestic, “Dawn” and “Ocean” or to, somewhat untypical, “Colours”, but those would be very different. Or, out of curiosity you may listen to the 1983’s “Performance” and become speechless seeing how the group inexplicably lost everything in just one year.

A YEAR IN MUSIC: ULTRAVOX – Quartet (1982)

Review by: Julien Mansencal

1982 belongs to the vast category of years that came before my birth, and Quartet belongs to the vast category of albums I discovered a long while after their release. Actually, my discovery of Ultravox’s “classic four,” from Vienna to Lament, happened across a short period of time, so much so that I still have trouble distinguishing them: to me, they are more like four consecutive chapters in a novel, and I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite among them.

Of course, I can hear the way George Martin (yes, *that* George Martin) gave a different twist to their sound here when compared with Conny Plank’s production on Vienna and Rage in Eden, but I do not feel the result is substantially weaker: more accessible and “poppy,” that’s undeniable, but the songs are just as interesting.

On my first listen, I spent an entire evening replaying “Reap the Wild Wind” again and again, always getting the same kicks from the crashing opening. A brilliant first track, maybe too much: nothing else on the album comes close to it. A few songs actually leave me cold, especially “Visions in Blue,” which aims too hard for Beauty with a capital B and fails. But I usually have an easy time resonating with Midge Ure’s passionate delivery and Quartet is no exception, be it the nervousness of “Cut and Run,” the grandiose faith of “Hymn” (what an apt title) or the vibrant nostalgia of “Reap the Wild Wind.” When the whistle fades away at the end of “The Song (We Go)”, I am always left wanting for more, so I usually follow it up with Lament. (As far as final chapters go, this is a really bleak one, but that’s a story for another round of reviews.)

So, maybe Quartet is the weaker chapter in the Ultravox novel. Still, it fits so well the overall narrative that skipping it would be a shame. “Hear the words of the syncopated rhythms; welcome to the song.”

A YEAR IN MUSIC: DIRE STRAITS – Love Over Gold (1982)

Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn

Is it really the best album of 1982?
In all genres?
Is it still the best after more than 30 years?
How about a sell-out to the CD buying public?
Jumping the video clip wagon?
Isn’t it just an OK singer-songwriter, fronting a very, very mediocre band?
Yes, Mr. Knopfler has a nice guitar sound (only one, though) but isn’t his voice rather poor?
The Phil Collins of guitar playing?
Pathetic lyrics, so simple they’re basically insulting?
Silly instrumental passages that try to suggest a cinematic quality but fail utterly?
Doesn’t the production date it terribly, with the cheesy synthesizer sounds (organ synthesizers, string synthesizers and the like).
Would anyone really ever listen to this nowadays?
Questions, questions, questions…
I do not have the answers to all these questions, I wonder who made them up. All I can say is that for me this was by far the best album of 1982, in 1982.
At the young, impressionable age of 18, still somewhat developing my musical tastes (actually being quite elitist about it), I loved music, but more or less hated all music that was played on the radio. I was deeply into Queen (since “Killer Queen”, at the tender age of 9 in 1973), Pink Floyd, Genesis, Camel, Meat Loaf and Paul McCartney, but they were old by 1982, and Queen had actually stopped making good music after QLK.
I loved the first three albums by Dire Straits (albums I remember having as LPs, with Love Over Gold, before I switched to CD in 1984). Making Movies was already promising something new, but this was it: good music, well performed, atmospheric and still amazingly popular, especially in the Netherlands (partly because they went totally CD, in touring sponsorships with Philips at the time).
I felt slightly ashamed that my musical tastes coincided with popular taste, but I put aside my snobbery and enjoyed it immensely. In 1985 I went to a concert in Leiden in a hall where I had exams during my studies at the University (and where they apparently sold pigs two days previously…). The hall has been demolished.
I listened to this album for the first time in more than 10 years today, and it made me cry and laugh at the same time. It brought back memories of that year that I wanted to forget, and it brought back memories that shaped me into what I’ve become. It was the right album at the right time for me. I’ve since moved on musically; it will probably be another 10 years before I listen to it again, if at all, but I will never part with it.