Last time he called, he was bearing a copy of Ninth, an album that, anthemic as it was intimate and esoteric, posed many more questions than it solved, drawing ever more curious souls to his growing legion of fans. For 2014’s answer, Peter Murphy has hit us squarely with the broadly encompassing, disturbing and definitive Lion. The Bauhaus frontman and founder stands like cooling towers in the landscape, emitting a sublime and malevolent shade and once again so does his music. Acknowledging the perversity and morbidity of life as a basic fact, Bauhaus’ records and those Murphy has made in his exceptionally fertile solo career have always been unforgiving, singular and totemic. Lion is no exception; down to the minutest detail it writhes in angst and screams toward transcendence. It is Mr. Murphy's best in some time, possessing an elegant mastery of tone in which meaning, semblance and truth lay over each other like petrol on water. Bass-heavy, stark, shimmering and symphonic, it reflects an iridescent haze of chemical sunsets and tampered memories.
It’s 35 years since Bauhaus dropped “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” from a monochromatic Weimar dreamscape into our own universe. The clattering nine-and-a-half minutes of their debut – an audacious, totally Other, anxious-to-the-point-of-internally-hemorrhaging kind of 12” – ushered a ground-breaking aesthetics of atmosphere into the UK’s post-punk scene and signaled the start of a long, illustrious and varied career. When the band broke-up for the first time in 1983, Murphy abruptly set out alone, challenging his audiences at every opportunity. In three decades he has eviscerated expectations and pin-balled a sprawling wasteland of musical styles: from carrying the mantle of ‘70s Bowie to rivaling New York’s No Wave generation for seductively grainy, punishing grooves.