Out of the Bauhaus

Peter Murphy soars solo

Once the Goths get enchanted with you, they never let you go. Loyal and a tad masochistic, Goths love their icons till death, even if their icons don't love them back. Which is why Peter Murphy can hide out in Turkey reading Rumi, release albums only sporadically, have those albums attacked in his native Britain and ignored by the majority here, and still pack a decent-size house pretty much anytime and anywhere he plays.

Murphy would be loath to call himself a Goth icon, but then all Goth icons are like that (just ask Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch, Siouxsie Sioux, or, if you could, the late Roz Williams of Christian Death). Murphy and the rest are right: They don't make Goth music, because there is no such thing. There's really only Goth culture, and the requirements for recognition within it have less to do with being dark and spooky and more to do with being a romantic outsider: mysterious, uniquely stylish, and, yes, slightly melancholy. Murphy's always had all of that, which makes the fact that his solo work is more pop than that of his ever-popular previous outfit, Bauhaus, somewhat irrelevant. Plus as he proved with his one real hit, 1990's "Cuts You Up," he's often more Bowie than Bowie these days. He fills the need for the eccentric androgynous hero who was lost forever when Scary Monsters Bowie evolved into Modern Love Bowie. Luckily the comparison is mostly limited to vocal similarities and charisma, as Murphy's recent career retrospective Wild Birds proves he has enough talent of his own.

 
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