The second album from Siouxsie and the Banshees was released less than a year about their spectacular debut. Join Hands has a distinctly different sound, one that is more haunting and introduces gothic tones that would later become popular. “Poppy Day” opens the album with the ringing of bells and a brief snippet of a Canadian poem by John McCrae about Flanders Field. “Regal Zone” takes the war theme to Iran, with Siouxsie Sioux singing with a staccato voice and a sax interlude courtesy of guitarist John McKay.
Where the album really shines is on “Icon”. The only track included on the Seven Year Itch live album released in 2003. It’s a spine tingling vocal with a guitar riff and pounding drums that slam in just before the first verse. The only track released as a single, “Playground Twist” pulls in more bells, thundering drums and buzzsaw guitar. The dark chaotic song takes on a child bullying theme and lyrics of “hanging, hanging, hanging” before ending with children’s voices.
Siouxsie and the Banshees historic first gig was opening up for the Sex Pistols at the 100 club in September 1976. The only song played was an extended version of “The Lord’s Prayer”, that track is recreated as the last song on Join Hands. At 14 minutes it brings in lyrics from Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Muhammad Ali. To hear it live must have been mesmerizing but here, it needs some severe editing to make it more than just a noisy scattershot of sometimes interesting shouts. In all, Join Hands can be a hard, grim listen.