Remastered 4AD Reissue!
Managing to expand their sound on 1981's Mask, the members of Bauhaus stretched themselves into new areas of music and performance, resulting in an album that was arguably even better than the band’s nearly flawless debut In The Flat Field. More sides of the band were apparent from the get-go; opening number “Hair of the Dog,” one of the band’s best songs, starts with a double-tracked squalling guitar solo before turning into a stomping, surging flow, carefully paced by sudden silences and equally sudden returns, Murphy details cases of mental addictions in pithy phrases.
The energy wasn’t all just explosive angst and despair, though; the one-two punches of “Kick in the Eye” and “In Fear of Fear” have as much hip-shaking groove and upbeat swing to them as portentous gloom (Ash’s sax skronk on the latter, as well as on the similarly sharp “Dancing,” is a particularly nice touch). Elsewhere, numerous flashes of the band’s quirky sense of humor make an appearance; perhaps most amusing is the dry spoken-word lyric beginning “Of Lillies and Remains,” as David J details a goofily grotesque situation as much Edward Gorey as Edgar Allen Poe.
Add to that three of the most dramatic things the band ever recorded - the charging, keyboard-accompanied “The Passion of Lovers,” the slow, dark fairytale-gone-wrong “Hollow Hills,” and the wracked, trudging title track, where the sudden appearance of an acoustic guitar turns a great song into a near-perfect blend of ugliness and sheer beauty - the end result is a perfect trouncing of the sophomore-slump myth.