Go Away White (Bauhaus Music)
Like lovers in a dysfunctional relationship, singer Peter Murphy and his erstwhile Bauhaus bandmates have doggedly tried to make things work over the years. Things go swimmingly when they’re, you know, getting it on, but when things quiet down and the heat of passion subsides, they can’t even abide being in the same room at the same time.
The band first split in 1983, leaving Murphy to pursue his solo career and the others—guitarist Daniel Ash, bassist David J, and drummer Kevin Haskins—to form Love and Rockets. A 1998 reunion tour reignited the old fires and was followed by a supposedly permanent reformation in 2005. The latest word from the Bauhaus camp, however, is that, due to an unspecified “incident” that threw everything into the shitter again, the new studio album, Go Away White, will be the group’s final project.
It’s not a bad way to bow out. In fact, it’s pretty damned impressive that, 25 years after its last album of new material (Burning From the Inside), the original goth band is still capable of making something that sounds exactly the way you’d expect a Bauhaus record to sound. All the signatures are there, from Murphy’s hunted-man croon to Ash’s textural guitar, which adds a punkish rumble to “Endless Summer of the Damned” and walking-dead drones to “Saved”. Brothers David J and Haskins, meanwhile, anchor everything with telepathically tight rhythms, dipping into dub on “Undone” and even leaning toward the Beatles on “Too Much 21st Century”.
In fact, if the album has a failing, it’s that the songs sometimes coast on their grooves and end up not really going anywhere. Still, in a world where, thanks to Interpol and the Editors, wearing black and using delay pedals is cool again, it’s nice to see that a few postpunk pioneers can still bring something fresh to the table. It’s just too bad that Bauhaus won’t be around to reap the rewards of its efforts.