Peter Murphy

As the lead singer of the legendary Bauhaus, Peter Murphy was the epitome of gloom-and-doom, early-'80s goth rock. But now all evidence points to him being...happy? Well, maybe that's taking things too far, but with Unshattered, Murphy seems to be taking the advice he offers in "Give What He's Got" about simply "learning to relax, man." He's still a long way from what a psychologist might call "healthy," but he's starting to close the gap. Some of the changes are subtle. Tempos are upbeat but no longer always overbearing, and Murphy's vocals are now more lyrical than commanding, more gracious than morose. Other changes are more dramatic. In place of the usual reliance on tight drum machines and dark guitars, "Kiss Myself" starts out with a harmonica riff and has backup singers crooning "bop-bop, bah-ooh" during the chorus. But while Murphy's overdramatic past made him at times musically unapproachable, his songs did have an intensity occasionally missing on Unshattered. It may not be a complete turnaround (Unshattered is, after all, still a fairly dark album), but for Peter Murphy it's practically giddy.
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Sander Wolf