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Proof you can't go home again, but then... why would you want to?,
This review is from: Go Away White (Audio CD)
It's been 25 years since Bauhaus released a studio record (1983's Burning from the Inside). In the intervening time, the band has been busy with vocalist Peter Murphy pursuing a solo career and the rest of the band-- guitarist Daniel Ash, bassist David J and drummer Kevin Haskins finding fame as Love & Rockets. After a handful of reunion tours (the first of which documented on Gotham) and persistent rumors of an album, "Go Away White" has finally arrived, the band's "farewell" record (yeah, we've heard that before). But like I said, it's been 25 years since these guys have gone in the studio to record new material-- goth and new wave (and contrary to popular assessment, Bauhaus straddled both camps) have run their course and spawned their children in the various alternative movements of the past 20 years and glam music had been reduced to a bunch of guys with eye liner and trashy metal riffs before collapsing.
So it's into this that Bauhaus' new album arrives, and one thing I can say-- you can't go home again. The music of Bauhaus in the late '70s and early '80s was unique, powerful and of its time. It stands on its own but one fears any effort to recapture that glory would fall flat-- mind you, it'd draw its armies of praise from the retro crowd, but in five years, it'd be a record collecting dust like other similar projects. Happily, Bauhaus did not pursue this route, instead turning out something entirely new.
This comes clear pretty much right from the start-- "Two Much 21st Century" kicks in with a modern production vibe-- bright guitars and a crisp, ringing bass sit in between a great rolling backbeat and Murphy's explosive vocal. It's a statement-- this isn't your dad's Bauhaus, if anything, it sounds like what Murphy's Unshattered should have been (I just couldn't get into that record). As the record moves on, it sounds essentially like a modern band that's really influenced by Bauhaus, admittedly sometimes this is more overt (loping goth piece "Mirror Remains") and sometimes less so ("Undone", a rambling alt-rock slice that could have come off a Jane's Addiction album but for the vocal). The album does consistently hold interest, and while it does have an occasional foray into goofy glam ("International Bulletproof Talent"), the balance of great songs such as screechy guitar driven funk rocker "Adrenalin", droning goth redux "Dog's a Vapour" (full of harmony laden vocals and a doom-driven musical cut) and post punk rocker "Black Stone Heart" (really quite the standout) carry the record straight through to the closing ambient cut "Zikir", recalling the best work in this form of the side careers of the band.
The only downside is that apparently the sessions yielded some sort of division in the band and this is being described as the band's farewell. The material sounds like it'd come alive in concert and it's a shame to hear. Nonetheless, it's great to see a Bauhaus record that has something to say.