Album #491 – Mask

Album #491

Bauhaus are one of the innovators of Goth Rock. Their dark sound inspired many and became synonymous with alternative rock in the 1980’s. Led by lead singer Peter Murphy, they are as dynamic as their dark and as punk as they are goth. One  thing I was disappointed about while listening to Mask was Murphy’s vocals. They were very different and almost erratic. His singing voice was not showcased the way I would have liked it to be. Murphy actually has one of the best voices of an artist from the 80’s but, no one would hear it until Murphy embarked on his solo career. It can be said that the careers of all of the band’s members had better music that while they were together. But, there are some exceptions to that rule. Prior to the release of this album, Bauhaus released one studio album and several singles in the UK starting with the landmark Bela Lugosi’s Dead in 1979. Among the other singles released was a great cover of T-Rex’s Telegram Sam, showcasing the glam rock influence on the band. Mask was their second solo album and added synths and acoustic guitars to brighten their sound. But, most of the album drones on. I have heard worse but, because of the fact that I know how good Murphy can sing, I was disappointed. Bauhaus would released a few more songs only on 45 and two more albums before splitting up in 1983. Murphy would go on to have an illustrious solo career that continues today. The three other members, David J and the Haskins brothers, eventually formed one of my favourite 80’s bands, Love and Rockets, in 1985. That band actually gets its name from a series of comics. Their biggest hit, So Alive, would come at the end of the decade and would again showcase their glam rock roots. Mask is certainly the best album Bauhaus ever released and equals Joy Division in terms of it’s dark and morbid sound. Luckily, punk had a stronger influence on the band than Joy Division and it puts a bit of energy into an otherwise dark and dense album. Highlights include: Hair of the Dog, The Passion of Lovers, Kick in the Eye, Muscle in Plastic, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes and Mask. Overall, I give Mask, 4 out of 5.

Next: The Poet by Bobby Womack

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