Monday, 22 October 2018

Bauhaus ‎– In The Flat Field (1980)

Style: New Wave, Goth Rock, Post-Punk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: 4AD, Virgin, Beggars Banquet

Tracklist:
A1.   Double Dare
A2.   In The Flat Field
A3.   A God In An Alcove
A4.   Dive
A5.   The Spy In The Cab
B1.   Small Talk Stinks
B2.   St. Vitus Dance
B3.   Stigmata Martyr
B4.   Nerves

Credits:
Bauhaus Are – Daniel Ash, David Jay, Kevin Haskins, Peter Murphy
Producer – Bauhaus
Written-By – Bauhaus

So you just got your dirty little hands on Bauhaus' debut album" Well, let me tell you something, prepare you ears for an awe inspiring musical ride. In it's short 38 minute running time, it scans over so many different emotions and musical directions. You will be amazed at the intensity of the vocals, the dissonance of the guitar and the truely awkward tendencies of the bass. It''s quirky, It's scary, It's Intense, It's Bauhaus, and at first listen, you may be thinking, "What have I gotten myself into"". The only answer to that my friend is, one hell of a trip through the blackest alleyways of a desolated and long forgotten town that is crumbling underneath the brilliance of this album. Does that make sense" No. But neither does this album... 
The album starts out with some real odd bass playing. They often utilize this, so get use to it. Wasting no time they jump into a popping bassline driven by powerful drums and insanely dramatic vocals. Peter Murphy pushes his voice to the limits on this LP showing that he has little to know restraints in his voice. Always he is pushing the songs into the depths of despair and agony with just sheer emotional power. It's really something to listen to. The opener is a fantastic track, displaying only a fraction of what the band is capable of though. The guitar plays it safe in the opener compared to other tracks. Take "Stigmata Martyr" for an example. At one point in the song, when Peter Murphy, I believe is either singing in toungues or in reverse, the guitar is doing something out of this world. It kind of sounds like demented birds chirping out of rhythm. I don't know really how to describe it. It paints such a vivid picture in the listener's mind though, as does every song. It seems to me as the album progresses, so does the strangeness of the music. The song "Small Talk Stinks" brings up memories of past Beatles' songs, or maybe even The Olivia Tremor Control. The track "St. Vitus Dance" (no, it's not Sabbath) features probably the strangest bass tone and accompanying bass line I've ever heard. The lyrics are equally unothodox as machines and dancing are often referenced. Possibly the most strange part of the song is the vocals. Towards the end, Peter just shrieks like an ape to the music, driving the song into pure musical insanity. Definately a highlight from the album. The atmoshere present in this album is also fantastic. The raw production of the music makes the tracks scratch out at the infinitely black chasm of sounds swirling around your frail mind so much more intense and enjoyable. Nothing is candy-coated on this album. The lyrics, the music and the atmosphere are all as painful as can be, each instruments bubbles out of the mix sometimes causing needless distortion to question you sanity. But that's most likely normal after sitting through this mess. 
Despair and depression are often expressed through music. But, not often is it displayed so effortlessly and effective like in this album. Maybe it's the lyrics that drive such emotions through the inpenetrable music. They really are something special. The lyrics in the title track are extremely well put together. So abnormal, they effectively create the feeling of misguided anger out of boredom or depression. To me, the lyrics depict a painfully boring and monotonous place in which the vocalist inhabited during themaking of the music. It seems plausible. Regardless of the dark intentions of some tracks on the album, a few songs maintain a mildly positive and fun atmosphere. "Dive" especially does this. The song really reminds me of Joy Division's "Interzone" because of the upbeat riffage and low tone of the vocals. Murphy's singing often reminds me of Ian Curtis, but in a very good way. Possibly the darkest and most powerful song here is "God In An Alcove". The vocals are layered and extremely present throughout the track. Despite the song's intense attributes, it remains incredibly catchy. After hearing the song enough you will find yourself yelling along with "Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Alcove!" I find it hard not to.  
This album is very unique. It is extremely intense, one of the most musically intense albums I've ever heard, really. Dark and diverse songs are all brought to life by Murphy's shiver enducing shrieks and breathtakingly vivd lyrics. The music creates such a strong atmosphere of hate, sadness, horror and dense imagery that will be stuck in your mind for hours even after you've stopped listening to it. The music may come off to some as being overbearingly dramatic at times. Take the begginning of "God in an Alcove" or the finale of the album at the end of "Nerves". These peices of music are actualy quite terrifiying.  
After reading all of this, you may be skeptical of popping this disc into you stereo. That's perfectly normal. The album is rediculously intense and may scare off unexpected listeners. But, because you read this, you should have mentally prepared yourself for the onslaught of shrieks, cries, quirky basslines, awkwardness, riffs, emotion and just pure brutality and honesty. Very strange music I know, but you should be fine. It may seem a little a bit exxagerated, and maybe it is. But all I know is, this album demands reapect and needs to be heard by all fans of great music. Also this album recquires "NERVES LIKE NYLON, NERVES LIKE STEEL!!!", just to make it through to the end, maintaining your sanity.
Justin Woodmancy  / sputnik music

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