Bauhaus at their most self-indulgent, surreal and pretentious. But you've got to love 'em for it! The album opens with the energetic, but the weakest track, "Third Uncle" a cover version of a Brian Eno song. They couldn't resist the literary and artistic references and the spooky "Silent Hedges" paraphrases whole chunks of Huxley's "Brave New World". "In The Night" is a reprise of a 1979 song and is the ugliest song they have ever come up with, yet it's infused with punk energy and no one shrieks better than Peter Murphy (not even Bowie!). "Swing The Heartache" are Murphy's vocals in their soaring magnificence. "Spirit" differs from the single version; a song about how the spirit present when Bauhaus performed allowed them to transcend into greatness. Now for side two, this is where things get really interesting. "The Three Shadows" parts 1-3 are truly haunting and gothic. In part one an atmospheric riff is played over and over, slowly being added to after each turn. Parts two and especially three again allow Murphy to express his vocal talents as he berates the listener in an existential piece about choices and situations. Very Jean-Paul Sartre! "All We Ever Wanted" an acoustic lament about how Bauhaus only want "to be the cream", which leads us into "Exquisite Corpse" one of the band's experimental pieces. You'll either love it or hate it. Cadavre exquis was favourite pastime of surrealists who constructed literary pieces by writing a line and giving it to the next person who wrote a line without seeing what the preceding line was. Bauhaus adapted this to produce a musical piece, just as Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro and Max Morise created paintings by the same method. With five segments, it commences with a mantra. The next four segments are little gems of backwards guitar and loops, slabs of noise and shrieking, and what can only be described as "goth-reggae". A wonderful close to a weird and wonderful album.
Interestingly enough BAUHAUS were a band I despised as an adolescent. Everyone else "Got Them", they looked cool, cool kids dug them, damn their album covers were intense, as was the birthing of "Goth Culture", BUT I couldn't stand their music, it made no sense to me, it was to me, at that time, bloody awful!!!
Fast forward 20 (or so) years. A good friend of mine lent me a copy, which I saw on his CD Shelf, out of personal interest. On first inhalation, it was nostalgic and "quaint" but after 2 or 3 listens I began to discover this album as an, almost, work of art. Its quirky and has a lyrical appeal that was wasted on my adolescent years. Murphy and co make records with their tongues so firmly planted in their (collective) cheeks it is almost surreal humour (Remember Joe Orton's Wedding?). The guitar work is interesting in the sense that Ash combines distorted, discordant (on purpose? hmm the jury's out) riffs with a clean driving bass from Jay and simplistic territorial beats from Haskins, Murphy's disjointed surreal poetry finishes it all of nicely with a caustic nonsense that all too often, makes sense! It is "Music Hall" it is Avant Garde, it is even Bebop, but overall it is well put together and produced making it a colourful collection of soundscapes that weaves between the sharped barbs of "Silent hedges" and "In The Night", to the almost Terpsichorean "Spirit", hitting the quirkiness of "All I Ever Wanted Was Everything" Sandwiched between the gnarly, caustic and inventive "Three Shadows" and "Exquisite Corpse". Sure musically it's for dum dums, Dream Theatre and The Grateful Dead They are NOT, and there won't be too much struggle for a competent beginner to learn the chords and structures, BUT like "Sweet Home Alabama" many can play it, but very few can make it work, well. Bauhaus make it work well, and then some, GO BUY NOW!
GREAT TO HEAR THIS CLASSIC AGAIN.WHY DO THEY HAVE TO MESS WITH THE TRACKS WHEN THEY REPRODUCE A CLASIC ALBUM.ZIGGY STARDUST+OTHER EXTRA TRACKS SPOIL THE AMBIENCE+MISS"how big you'l be in a little while"ETC, THOSE WHO HAD THE ORIGINAL THAT CAME WITH" IN A FLAT FIELD WILL KNOW WOT I MEAN"."BELLA LUGOSSI'S DEAD"MAY HAVE SUITED ADDITIONAL TRACKS BETTER IF THEY MUST,BUT STILL WISH "THEY"WOULD'NT MESS WHITH CLASSIC ALBUMS TRACK LISTS+MIXES. LOVE+PEAS,THE ALIEN.
Bauhaus is really one of the most amazing bands ever. Their first song, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," was a monster hit from the first time it was ever played publicly in Britain. They have influenced literally millions of people with their music and style. The Sky's Gone Out contains some of their best material and reveals their own influences. Their cover of "Ziggy Stardust" exhibits their admiration of Bowie, and, dare I say, surpasses their idol's rendition in terms of energetic interpretation. "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" exemplifies a romantic yearning for a youthful and narcissistic life without boundaries, a theme as common in postpunk as the existentialism and Dadaism referenced in "The Three Shadows. "Spirit" is a glorious masterpiece of gothic form: "The stage becomes a ship in flames, I tie you to the mast; throw your body overboard, the spotlight doesn't last, the spotlight doesn't last." The song captures the Dionysian mystery at the heart of performance, the transubstantiation of ephemeral human art into eternal divine creativity. The stage is the altar where the godhead of human potential becomes manifest. Bauhaus convey that mystic transformation better than any other artistic entity I have ever encountered.
With a transcendental aesthetic unlike anything heard before or since, The Sky's Gone Out has a shiny, unfiltered, twisted blackness, purposeful yet mysterious, ugly yet beautiful, meancing yet theatrical. Have your tickets ready.