He's about to turn 51, and Peter Murphy, the godfather of goth, still has that maniacal look to him, that flamboyant edge that set him and his band, Bauhaus, apart from the crowd back in the '80s. Forever remembered for "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (and his appearance in the David Bowie vampire flick The Hunger), Murphy has had a difficult time sustaining a solo career—perhaps due to his conversion to Islam in the '90s or his genre-hopping from alt-rock to industrial to electronica. Murphy's spirit may be admirably restless, but the results have been decidedly mixed for nearly three decades.
Although he's had his share of hits ("Cut You Up" being the most recognizable) and although his influence (especially upon Trent Reznor) is undeniable, Murphy's tortured bellow is still a matter of taste. Unlike Bowie, who maintained popularity through several stylistic diversions, Murphy's later work has been almost pointedly anti-commercial. His 2002 effort, Dust, featured traditional Turkish instrumentation and dense atmospherics and came off more pretentious than inspired.
Bauhaus has reunited several times in the past decade already. Perhaps it's time for Murphy to call up Daniel Ash and David J. and give the goth sound one more go-round before he retires to his favorite Eastern European castle.
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