Bauhaus sounds exactly as you'd expect them to, be assured. The fabulously dissonant guitars of Daniel Ash return to the fore (it's smashing to hear him playing like this again after his odious solo album of 2002). The Haskin brothers Kevin and David provide the indefinable rhythmic basis to Bauhaus typified in the past by tracks like "Watch that Grandad Go", "Dive" and, of course, "Atonin Artaud". Who really gives his all on "Go Away White" is their enigmatic frontman, their medium of arcane daliesque delights Peter Murphy. He really just goes for it vocally on "Adrenaline" screaming as he has not since the band did their original run 1979-1983. The layered bass/guitar phrasings on this tune are such that it grinds out brutality, the drums may sound simplified but trust me, they aren't. Subtley plays a greater role for Bauhaus on their final (and I am told by legions that it is) record. Pay no mind to the drama created by the press machines and on-line forum lotharios, this band sound primal.
Each member of the band focuses exclusively on their particular area of sonic contribution, so sadly, there are no J/Ash lead vocals to be heard on this thing. There is, however, quite possibly, a string of songs which may be their best yet: the rollicking "Endless Summer of the Damned", "International Bulletproof Talent"; a nocturnal meditation also known as "Saved" and a reminder of the humour which informs this band despite their reputation "Mirror Remains". "There should be a solo there" states Murphy, "Here's the solo" Ash replies and delivers what can only be termed a satirical response. "Saved" just floors me with its atmospheric, muscular composition. How do they do songs like these?
All I can come away from "Go Away White" thinking is that it's truly a shame Bauhaus are done. Given another album and an actual tour with mostly new material they could have easily re-defined what rock is. Their flair for the dramatic has been terribly missed. Imagine glitter descending on taut emaciated faces tearing at their bonds in a twilight retirement home. There you have it.
What this portends for us Love and Rockets fans is not clear, but something I always have felt which needs to be set on the public record's scales is that for all his subdued playing and introverted persona, David J is the solo artist out of all of them I prefer hands down. The basslines are what guide "Go Away White" more than anything. Perhaps it was the intention of this 18 day recording session to illuminate the hidden facets of Bauhaus this one last time. If so, "Go Away White" delivers the goods. There's no sound wasted, no tape delays and from what I can make out, overdubs were kept to the barest of minimums. As for Ash, this record is vindication at last that he really can play, despite all the slagging over the years he's gotten for being a flashy fashion plate and bad perm victim. Murphy will be mute for a while after this one, you can hear his vocal cords shredding on several tracks, pushing it to the limit as he has is commendable, he does not embarrass himself at all and wails like the dischordant banshee he is. Haskins, naturally hits things but does so in brutish brooding way. You can tell he's enjoying this, they all seem to be. One last morphine laced stinger for old Bela and then nothing more.
Well done, lads. Well done.