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Bauhaus - Go Away White
from the grave
Review by Tony BonyataI have to admit that I was half-dreading the day that Goth-rock godfathers Bauhaus would get back together to release an album of new material. Not because I didn't want to hear founding members Peter Murphy (vocals), Daniel Ash (guitar), David J (bass) and Kevin Haskins (drums) perform together again (something they pulled off spectacularly well for their 1998 "Resurrection Tour"), but because I feared that, like Iggy & The Stooges' abysmal effort The Weirdness last year (their first album of new music in 34 years), a new album of sub-par Goth rock from this seminal band would tarnish their musical legacy.
Such is not the case, however, with Bauhaus' latest effort Go Away White - their first full collection of new material since their album Burning From The Inside was released twenty-five years ago. While the latter effort would find David J and Ash taking a lead in writing and singing during a period when Murphy was extremely ill (which, with a somewhat sunnier outlook, helped pave the way for Ash and J's following Love & Rockets project), their new album steps further back into the murky shadows of their earlier recordings.
While the expected dark dirges are still intact (the Middle Eastern mysticism of "Zikir" and "Mirror Remains," where David J's trippy bass-line induces a hypnotic trance-like vibe), there are also moments of inspired rockers as witnessed on the fuzz-guitar driven "Adrenalin," the menacing "International Bulletproof Talent" and the opening track "Too Much 21st Century," which blends a slow bass groove with dissonant guitar and Murphy's deep, penetrating vocals.
Musically the band sound as if they're just picking up where they left off, as they turn in tight, muscular rock arrangements while Murphy displays a wonderful vocal range that spans from creepy baritone croon (much in the fashion of David Bowie circa '76) and full-moon howls to a melodramatic narrative that sounds as if Vincent Price was reciting over two turntables and a microphone.
With such a fine return-to-form after a quarter-century it's a shame that the band has announced that, with no supporting tour or future recordings planned, that this will be their final effort together. Thankfully it's a swan song that makes for a fitting epitaph - one that you would assume for this band of gloom-and-doom would be dark and foreboding, but instead, on a surprising note, fades to white.
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