Tuesday 7 March 2017

Review: Peter Murphy – 'Bare-Boned And Sacred'

'Bare-Boned And Sacred'

Last year's 'Stripped' tour saw the godfather of goth, Peter Murphy (formerly of Bauhaus) take his solo show to a minimalist extreme. Accompanied by only two other musicians (John Andrews on Guitar and Emilio 'Zef' China Bass/Electric Violin) Murphy's approach was a career-encompassing cross-section of hits from his days with Bauhaus up to his last studio effort 'Lion'. The result is a subtle and emotional album full of bewitching melodies and hypnotic rhythms that frame Murphy's distinct voice perfectly.

The album is mixed well with a nice balance between crowd-noise and the performance. There's a little bit of banter mixed into the set but not much. But it still retains the atmosphere of a low-key and intimate performance. Songs such as 'All Night Long', 'Bewlay Brothers', 'A Strange Kind Of Love', the 'Bauhaus Medley', 'Lion' and 'Your Face' in particular are stunning renditions that are met with rapture from the audience.

There is a roughness to the recording. It hasn't been cleaned-up a great amount beyond its mixing and that's great. It's an artifact of the event, a true representation of the atmosphere, sound and feeling the performance conveyed at that time and the album replicates that perfectly.

Many people have mixed feelings about live albums. But this is one of those rare occasions where the performance justified it's recording. The “warts and all” live feeling, the intimacy of the sound, the world-weary crackle to Murphy's distinctive vocal style all and the subtlety of Andrews and China's accompaniment make this an enticing listening experience.

It may not have much appeal outside the circle of Bauhaus/Peter Murphy fans, but those fans will be able to walk away satisfied with this album. It does something a little different and adds a new twist to some familiar songs and for that reason alone it is worth a listen.  

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