Peter Murphy: Ninth

Post-punk perennial returns from the Twilight zone.

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Seven years have elapsed since his last solo release, but human time clearly means little to Northampton’s most undead art-rock vampire.

In the interim, Murphy pulled a respectable swansong album from the wreckage of his aborted Bauhaus reunion, shared a stage with Trent Reznor, and landed a small role in the Twilight movie series. This inspired piece of stunt casting may yet prove invaluable in introducing the razor-cheeked goth-punk overlord’s music to a new, younger audience. Mmmm, fresh blood.

Ninth is a fairly straight collection of brooding doom-rock, with Murphy shamelessly channelling Iggy Pop’s zombie-croak croon on meatier tracks such as Velocity Bird and Uneven & Brittle. Hard-riffing guitars dominate, with just a hint of more theatrical, lace-lined, laudanum-addled Victoriana in I Spit Roses and Secret Silk Society.

Behind the heavy velvet drapes and magickal incantations, Murphy is clearly courting the suburban, conservative, Twilight-fan heartland. Ninth is a decent autumnal effort, but contains scant trace of the raw tribal rhythms and avant-punk dissonance that made Bauhaus so interesting.

We clearly live in dismal times when a Peter Murphy album can be faulted for not being pretentious enough.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.