quarta-feira, 12 de março de 2014

Bauhaus - The Sky's Gone Out (82)

É o terceiro álbum de estúdio da banda Bauhaus, lançado em 1982, pela gravadora Beggars Banquet Records.

"It makes perfect sense that, during the lean years of the progressive scene in the early 1980s, many of the more interesting British groups would emerge from the same underground scene from which "prog" was originally spawned. With the progressive movement having abandoned its "roots" by this period, the ideas inherent in those roots would obviously be explored by other movements. If one looks beyond the differences in musical virtuosity, it is not terribly difficult to find some links between the early progressive scene and the early Gothic scene. That the progressive movement has only rarely interacted with this later musical development may suggest that the divisions caused in the backlash of 1977 remain a stultifying force in the music industry.

That isn't why I'm reviewing The Sky's Gone Out, however. This album makes the TR series by virtue of the fact that (i) it includes remakes of two "art rock" standards, and (ii) the fact that many of the lyrical and vocal hysterionics reminded me of Peter Hammill (this is not to suggest that Murphy was influenced by Hammill; I am simply noting a similarity). If this review successfully indicates some common ground between the two movements, it has served a useful purpose.

Bauhaus are considered in some circles to have been the originators of the Gothic Rock movement (although Joy Division actually came first). Between 1979 and 1983, their dirgelike musical explorations created the basis from which several imitative bands would later emerge. Peter Murphy has since embarked on a solo career, and the remaining members have created Love And Rockets (who bear further prog-related credentials by virtue of having a song entitled "No New Tale To Tell", considered by some to be a Jethro Tull parody). The Sky's Gone Out is sometimes considered to be the best Bauhaus release.

The album begins with a cover of "Third Uncle", the original version of which appears on Brian Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). This version features a faster tempo, a simplified arrangement, more intense vocals and considerably more profanities than I recall having been in the original. This is, in other words, the very definition of a stripped-down, straight-ahead "new wave" cover. Daniel Ash's guitar techniques are not "progressive" per se, but indicate a proficiency in soundscape creation; Haskins's drumming is impressively tight as well. This doesn't quite match the original (the gradual buildup of Eno's version is largely absent here), but it is a noble and brave effort. As an introductory track, it serves its function well.

"Silent Hedges" is a more substantial song, featuring more impressive guitar texturing to accompany its dark lyrical motifs. It's quite easy for this reviewer to envision Peter Hammill singing these lyrics; the themes of stark landscapes concealing hidden secrets would work extremely well with this usual tendencies. Those with no interest in Gothic stylings might not find this terribly interesting, but there is clearly some talent here. The tempo change towards the end is a nice effect.

"In The Night" is a slightly less successful number written on the same general premise as "Silent Hedges". The distorted guitars and brooding bass lines work extremely well in this number, and Murphy's description of suicidal isolation fits the track quite well. As against that, some of the vocal "tricks" don't really seem to suit the song, thereby relegating it to the "good but flawed" category. Still, there's not too much to complain about.

A brief guitar soundscape leads into the next song. "Swing The Heartache" is a slower number, telling the story of a frustrated female member of gothic society with unfulfilled artistic ambitions. The primary instrumental feature of the song seems to be the razor-like guitar tone which emerges at certain points. Several more guitar tricks emerge in the extended instrumental outro, most of which seem to fit the general motif of the song. On both a lyrical and instrumental level, a success.

The first thing which this reviewer noticed about "Spirit" is the fact that its opening keyboard line (played by whom?) was nicked by U2 for the lead melody in "Mothers Of The Disappeared", released five years later on The Joshua Tree. That aside, this is a fairly interesting track. The music progresses in a catchy manner, with Murphy reciting disturbing lyrics in a manner half-detached from the musical basis (for those who catch, the three-second Spanish guitar reference is rather cute). The track ends with a demented "We love our audience" mantra, sung over some fairly decent guitar tricks from Ash.

The suite which then follows is the triumph of the album. While it would be incorrect to refer to "The Three Shadows, Part One" as having roots in the progressive movement, it clearly has links to the early psychedelic jams of Pink Floyd. Minimalist guitar lines eventually develop into fairly elaborate ambient webs. The "backing vocals of the damned" section is a nice touch as well. This instrumental is easily the best song on the album.

"The Three Shadows, Part Two" introduces the lyrical narrative of the suite: Murphy speaks from the perspective of a detached figure (possibly a god, or at least a priest), condemning the decadence of his followers. Mysterious references to fish and ritual sacrifice add to the general intrigue of this speech. From a musical standpoint, it's very similar to the previous track, save that the tempo is increased somewhat.

The brief "The Three Shadows, Part Three" consolidates some of the mystery of the previous track, wherein the speaker reveals that the souls of his followers are transformed into fish following their deaths. The music has by this time become quite demented, and by ears pick out what appears to be a violin (again, played by whom?) added into the mix. Some ambiguity of meaning remains at the end of this track, which seems appropriate. This suite is the most interesting section of the album, by far. (For those following along, it's also the section most similar to Peter Hammill's tendencies).

From there, the album proceeds to the slightly disappointing "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything". This track begins in a fairly banal manner (both musically and lyrically); though it eventually improves somewhat, it never really escapes the Brit-pop trappings of its introduction. Those uninterested in recent Verve singles might wish to skip this one.

"Exquisite Corpse" returns the album to its proper track. After a brief, sarcastic a capella recitation by Murphy, a slightly demented band performance appears (with heavily distorted guitars). The track then comes to a full stop, and begins anew with Hammill-esque lyrics after the decline of a royal figure (as per the title). Another full stop, and the band reappears with a reggae section (at about the same tempo as "Meurglys III", oddly enough), complete with snoring effects in the background. The distorted guitars and vocal mantras return at the end. A truly bizarre number, and one deserving of critical praise.

This marked the end of the original release, but recent CD issuings have included a series of bonus tracks. This version of "Ziggy Stardust" appears as a calculated attempt at targeting the youth bracket of the music-buying public; this is a straightforward cover, with an "in your face" ethos that ultimately detracts from the value of the original track. Bowie's original song structure allows this version to receive a decent rating; Bauhaus themselves deserve little credit as such.

"Party Of The First Part" consists primarily of a dialogue between an aspiring singer and a satanic/mechanical music executive (who eventually steals the soul of the singer on the night of her greatest triumph, due to the fact that she signed her contract in blood without reading it first). The band plays a downbeat jazz line in the background. Decent, if less than essential.

The second version of "Spirit" is a rare triumph: providing a true alternative while essentially remaining true to the ... er ... spirit of the original. This version features a faster tempo and a diminished level of dirgelike qualities. The "We love our audience" section is generally edited out of this version; this aside, the track is a valid revision of the original.

Finally, we have "Watch That Grandad Go", a novelty dance instruction song featuring a bizarre funk-rock musical ethos. An entire album of this might be unbearable; on its own, though, this is amusing enough to justify its presence (though the inane second vocal line -- by either Ash or Jay -- could be jettisoned fairly easily). A saxophone (for the third time, played by whom?) adds another element to the mix. They don't actually find the grandad mentioned in the title, by the way.

Such is The Sky's Gone Out.

Is this an album that most progressive fans would like? No. Aside from followers of the tiny prog-psych-goth axis (including groups like the Legendary Pink Dots and ... um ... not many others), there would probably be few progressive fans who would show a strong interest in this music.

Could the progressive scene benefit from exposure to albums like this? Probably. But it's influence will probably remain minimal."


"Nunca houve uma banda igual. Muitos tentaram imitá-los, mas sempre com resultados patéticos. Apesar do que muita gente possa afirmar, The Sky's Gone Out é um excelente álbum, de uma banda incapaz de fazer qualquer coisa de mau. 

A abertura com Third Uncle, escrita por Brian Eno, debita energia e uma batida invulgarmente pop. Silent Hedges é Bauhaus em versão ameaçadora e enigmática: "Following the silent hedges / Needing some other kind of madness / Looking into purple eyes / Sadness at the corners / Works of art with a minimum of steel", com Peter Murphy a berrar "Going to hell again... again... again..." A mistura de guitarra acústica, letras sinistras e voz carismática cria o ambiente sonoro original que justifica o epíteto de inimitável.

O disco é igualmente conhecido pelos momentos de experimentalismo arrojado, como em Swing the Heartache, The Three Shadows ou Exquisite Corpse. Não é música comercial. Nada que possa ser ouvido regularmente nas estações de rádio de grande audiência, mas faz as delícias das rádios universitárias, sempre em busca de surpreender novos ouvintes com terrores nocturnos vindos do passado. Os Bauhaus não são apenas uma banda gótica; são A BANDA GÓTICA POR EXCELÊNCIA!"



"Third Uncle" (Brian Eno) – 5:14
"Silent Hedges" – 3:09
"In the Night" – 3:05
"Swing the Heartache" – 5:51
"Spirit" – 5:28
"The Three Shadows, Pt. 1" – 4:21
"The Three Shadows, Pt. 2" – 3:12
"The Three Shadows, Pt. 3" – 1:36
"All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" – 3:49
"Exquisite Corpse" – 6:39

Disco e capa em excelente estado.
Edição Original de 1982.
Importado USA.
Saindo por R$ 50,00

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