Lion by Peter Murphy
In the early 90’s, Peter Murphy scored some huge hits with songs like “A Strange Kind of Love” and “Cuts You Up.” While he continued to release solo material since then, none of it really lived up to his Deep album. Lion still can’t surpass that—it would be difficult to do—but this is still quality music. For those who don’t know, Peter Murphy is one of the architects of Dark Wave or Goth music. He started his career as the vocalist for Bauhaus and then went on to have a respectable solo career. He was bellowing about Bella Lugosi’s death long before glittery teenage vampires pouted in books and on the big screen.
One of my complaints of his recent solo material was the lack of energy in the songs. He solved that problem by recruiting production genius Youth (from Killing Joke) to produce this new album. That isn’t to say that every song is a throbbing up-tempo delight; you still get slower interludes like “The Rose” that stand out nicely. This has everything a Peter Murphy fan will enjoy, with a little bit of electronics added in to keep the groaning guitars moving along at a toe-tapping beat.
Songs like “I Am My Own Name,” and “Low Tar Stars” thump along to keep the energy up. “Holy Crown” has a Joy-Division influenced bass line that matches Murphy’s crooning deep vocals. Other parts of the album feel like Nine Inch Nails played a contributing factor.
Peter Murphy is the grandfather of Goth, and in some ways you can tell that time hasn’t been especially kind to his vocal cords. Indeed there are moments when he screams so agonizingly loud that you fear for his throat’s well-being. But that isn’t really a bad thing. For Peter Murphy, emotion is conveyed in every way possible; if the man needs to scream, then let him.
If you are a Peter Murphy fan, you will like this album quite a bit. Also keep in mind that he is playing June 25th at The Depot.