Bauhaus is one of the very few bands to have accomplished what many might consider a flawless catalog of music. The godfathers of the goth genre created many groundbreaking albums, laying the pathway for artists ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Bloc Party. If you think about the innovative beats and textures that Peter Murphy, David J, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins created, from "She's In Parties" to "Silent Hedges," Bauhaus paved a pathway for countless artists that would not have existed without them. These unbelievably talented fellows created a sound that is unmistakably theirs, and one that still holds up after an unbelievable twenty-nine years.
When rumors began to pop up about Bauhaus working on a new album, it seemed impossible. It had been twenty-five years since their last proper studio album, which made any doubt fairly understandable. Those doubts were quickly squashed, as the four original members entered the studio to record their first full-length release in a quarter century. Just as soon as song titles and release dates began to circulate, fans were quickly informed that this would in fact be the final Bauhaus album, as the band was calling it a day once again. So after such a lengthy gap in time between records, how does the Bauhaus swansong hold up? It is a stunning collection, comprised of ten tracks that sound exactly like what you'd expect. With Go Away White, Bauhaus did not miss a step, with Peter Murphy's Earth-shaking golden pipes sounding as amazing as ever.
The album begins with "Too Much 21st Century," kicking off with what can only be described as classic Daniel Ash guitar work, melding together the worlds of goth and glam like no other. It is about as "pop" as Bauhaus gets, balancing that fine line between experimentation and accessibility, well, as accessible as Bauhaus can get. This is followed by the menacing "Adrenalin," driven by David J's fuzzed-out bass and Kevin Haskins' classic disco-rock beat, with Murphy's unmistakable wailing during the chorus. How in the hell does he still do it?
"Endless Summer Of The Damned" lets Ash choke the living hell out of his guitar, unleashing an impressive variety of sonic brilliance all over this monster of a track. The drums begin to crash as Murphy gives it his all, easily going from a deep croon to his patented yell in the blink of an eye. This contrasts nicely to the other end of Bauhaus spectrum: the haunting "Saved." The song develops a near-electronica vibe with the chilled-out beats, keeping the chilling vibe intact with the occasional clanging of a chime, and of course, some of Peter Murphy's finest vocals ever.
The off-kilter chord progression of "Mirror Remains," specifically in David J's bass, offers one of the album's most unique moments. Ash's squealed out guitars, odd washes of random piano notes, spurts of percussion and handclaps combine to make this pure Bauhaus. We eventually get to the crowning moment of Go Away White, with the climactic brilliance of "The Dog's A Vapour." Coming in at nearly seven minutes, the band slowly allows the song to grow and expand, adding in layers of guitars and walls of Murphy's glorious vocals. He is without a doubt one of the most powerful voices to ever grace rock music. Once the beat comes in with less than two minutes to go, with guitars wailing, bass line pulsing like a Massive Attack track, with Murphy going batshit crazy, it is impossible to not get chills sent immediately down your spine. Bauhaus is still fucking brilliant.
Ten songs in eighteen days after a quarter century, Bauhaus have stepped up to the plate to reaffirm why they are legends not only in goth, but in the larger realm of rock & roll in general. It is a fucking shame that they have waited this long to give us Go Away White, then declaring it their final release. With the amount of fire and passion dripping from this disc, it is obvious that they still have it, but at least they've decided to end on a high note.