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.