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Bauhaus - Go Away White

Bauhaus, Go Away White

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BAUHAUS are nothing if not evolving. Having emerged as a punk rock band in 1978, they dabbled with Goth, tore through post-punk and continue to refine their sound, incorporating elements of T-Rex glam with Hendrix-inspired psychedelia and an inherent moodiness that’s often quite compulsive.

New album Go Away White marks yet another progression and is a fascinating – if not entirely successful – album for rock fans to digest.

Recorded in 18 days at Zircon Skye in Ojai, with singer Pete Murphy, bassist Daniel J, guitarist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin Jaskins, it’s notable for two reasons: firstly, having been captured in one take and for Daniel Ash’s inspired use of Jimi Hendrix’s own personal Vox wah wah pedal, gifted to him by Peter Murphy at the start of the sessions.

The result is an album that offers some very appealing highs, as well as some dubious experimental lows. And yet throughout, it’s easy to figure out how far and wide Bauhaus’ influence continues to reach – taking in the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol and even LCD Soundsystem.

Highlights include album opener Too Much 21st Century, which kicks off with the type of grunge-like riff that could have inspired countless Nirvana tracks, before then settling into a funky, bass-heavy groove that could almost be described as David Holmes-esque (check out the Ocean’s 11 soundtrack work).

Murphy’s vocals take on a Bowie-esque nature as well, while the lyrics provide an excellent lament about 21st Century excess and materialism.

Adrenalin, meanwhile, contains a hard-driving, moody industrial sound that’s clearly been adopted by the likes of Nine Inch Nails.

Undone is another of the more radio-friendly moments that works well, while International Bulletproof Talent boasts a straightforward, but no less impressive straightforward rock vibe.

The album begins to get a little bit more experimental during Endless Summer Of The Damned – one of a handful of tracks that squanders its early potential – while Saved falls into the same category, stripping things back to allow Murphy’s haunted/anguished vocals to take centre stage. But at over six minutes in length, it could do with some winding up.

Mirror Remains is another rambling effort during which the album continues to veer off course, but it then comes back strong with the vibrant Black Stone Heart, which picks up the pace and features some excellent guitar work.

Sadly, it’s a short-lived respite, as both The Dog’s A Vapour and Zikir bring things to an overly experimental close that ends things on a somewhat dour, depressing note. Zikir, in particular, is a weird number, repeating the line “love’s me, love’s me not” over and over with only a minimalist backbeat and haunted, warped guitar riffs for comfort.

Go Away White is the type of album that’s likely to be hailed by some as a classic example of how Bauhaus continue to inspire and stretch their sound – but it’s also guilty of a little too much self-importance and experimental excess.

The first half is great; the second not so. It could well leave a lot of listeners as divided as it left me.

Download picks: Too Much 21st Century, Adrenalin, Undone, Black Stone Heart

Track listing:

  1. Too Much 21st Century
  2. Adrenalin
  3. Undone
  4. International Bullet Proof Talent
  5. Endless Summer Of The Damned
  6. Saved
  7. Mirror Remains
  8. Black Stone Heart
  9. Dog’s A Vapour
  10. Zikir