Peter Murphy - Dust
2 1/2 Stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 7, 2002
By Tony BonyataYou can extract the fangs from a vampire, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be any less creepy. Former-Bauhaus frontman and Goth-rock pioneer Peter Murphy is living proof of that on his latest album Dust, a collection of nontraditional Western rock steeped with hallucinogenic Middle Eastern mysticism.
Ten years ago Murphy relocated his home to Turkey, a most unlikely seeming place for a British rock star. On his sixth solo studio album he's teamed up with Mercan Dede, an artist who, as irony has it, was born in Turkey and raised on Eastern traditions but who later relocated to Canada. Dust is filled with deep, looming music that melds both East and West into a dark, trance-inducing collection of songs. Murphy is no stranger to Eastern influenced music himself, having tapped into it as far back as 1988 with his song "Socrates The Python" from Love Hysteria.
Murphy's deep, theatrical baritone voice is still as commanding and elusive as ever, but instead of using the illusion of somnambulists and other creatures of the night to conjure up fear, he's now adopted a new approach to inflict dread - with incense-soaked Middle Eastern melodies snaking their way through his dark dirges.
While numbers such as the psychedelic mantra of the opening track "Things To Remember" and "Jungle Haze," which actually features a shimmer of hope, are promising, there are others such as "Girlchild Aglow" and two unnecessary remakes of his own "My First Two Weeks" and "Subway" that wear themselves out chasing their own tails.
In the past when he lightly sprinkled these Eastern sentiments throughout his work it added to a broader, more interesting collection. Unfortunately, as a whole album, however, it's all just too depressing and morose. But judging from Murphy's dark past, that may have been exactly what he was trying to achieve.
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