There is absolutely nothing wrong with Brian Eno’s original take on Third Uncle. Bauhaus’s cover is just louder, fiercer, more dangerous, better. In fact, it gets downright harrowing before it’s done – a reminder that so-called Goth didn’t even exist at the time, Bauhaus being one of those rare outfits that forces a re-think, a whole new definition. Yeah, there were already lots of folks dressing in black, mourning for their own deaths, but they were just part of the greater scene, lurking in the shadows of the cooler clubs like something important was being born, but it hadn’t quite arrived yet. Until along came Bauhaus, looking good in black themselves, and way too loud to ignore.
“Because sometimes passion isn’t hot at all, it’s cold, freezing even, and few have ever captured this as profoundly as The Cure on the album known as Pornography. Which showed up in my life just in time to find me edging back from a prolonged season in the abyss. I guess these days, you’d just say I was depressed. But nah, it was deeper than that, and colder, all that time lost in a void the size of Antarctica, knowing I could just lay down any old time and be gone, yet ultimately choosing not to. Like that Robert Frost poem about the snowy evening — still miles to go before I’d sleep. And there on the soundtrack of the movie I was only beginning to realize I was in, was Cold pounding home the truth that yes, in fact, I was very much on the gods’ straight and narrow path, which only appeared so crooked and convoluted because my filters were so f***ed up, the right music at the right time always being a good straightener.” (Philip Random)
“Bauhaus still had one more album after 1982’s The Sky’s Gone Out but in terms of invention and sheer sonic adventure, it’s pretty safe to say they peaked here. And nowhere are things creepier, more sonically inventive than the final track, Exquisite Corpse. Dub, oblique fragments of poetry, sheets of nightmarish noise. Needless to say, this got a lot of play through any number of psychedelic excursions in the lead up to the mid-80s. An abandoned house comes to mind, right at the seashore, a sort of lost cove off Vancouver’s north shore. The weird part is how everything was still furnished, the library still stocked with books. I grabbed one, heavy, bound in strangely moist leather. I opened it up to some calligraphy, a language I didn’t recognize and yet it spoke to me anyway, and then I realized that the ink was blood red and running in trickles to the hungry floorboards. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was all but a dream.” (Philip Random)
(photo: Fin Costello)
An early single provides strong evidence that Bauhaus were far more than just a goth outfit (the term didn’t even exist until after they’d split up). What they were was smart, innovative, never remotely boring, with Terror Couple Kill Colonel working all manner of studio exploration to get seductively under the skin, into the blood.
It’s 1984 and proto-goth underlords Bauhaus have broken up, but guitar guy Daniel Ash still has some shadows to explore with bassist (and former Bauhaus roadie) Glenn Campling, an outfit they’re calling Tones on Tail. And it all comes good (if weird) with Pop, an album that goes all kinds of cool places. In the case of Real Life, that means acoustic, expansive, dynamic – the right kind of psychedelic.
“Bauhaus, at the peak of their considerable powers, deliver a generational anthem if there ever was one. Though I can’t say I’ve analyzed it much past the title, modest as it demands are. It’s 1982 and everything’s pretty much gone or going to hell, slimy and/or demented conservative types in power pretty much everywhere in the so-called western world, and it’s worse everywhere else, the rich getting richer, the poor getting eaten. In the face of all this, what do we young people want? Oh, not much. Just EVERYTHING.” (Philip Random)