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The Sky's Gone Out (Reviewed by Bogie):

The Sky's Gone Out released by Bauhaus (Canadian Pressing) 1982. Beggars Banquet.
Third Uncle (5:13)
Silent Hedges (3:08)
In The Night (3:05)
Swing the Heartache (5:49)
Spirit (5:26)
The Three Shadows Part I (4:21)
The Three Shadows Part II (3:11)
The Three Shadows Part III (1:36)
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (3:48)
Exquisite Corpse (6:40)

* Kick In The Eye (3:30)
* Ziggy Stardust (3:12)
* Lagartija Nick (3:05)

* Bonus 12" included with Canadian pressing.

It is unlikely that any one band could be given credit for creating goth rock. However, there are a few records that can be considered seminal to the development of the genre. The Sky's Gone Out by Bauhaus deserves to be counted among those. The contribution of Bauhaus to goth is often overlooked due to the success of band members after its demise. Love And Rockets, Tones On Tail and Dali's Car can all trace their roots through Bauhaus. Peter Murphy's solo work speaks for itself.

The Sky's Gone Out contains all the elements that have become standard goth content. Lyrically the material spans the realms of disaffection and rebellion against conformity. Bauhaus present observations on contemporary architecture, the slip into suicidal thoughts, depictions of stage-actor dramatics and a mini opus dealing with disaffection. There is even the inclusion of mindless gibberish that still seems to work in this strange soundscape.

The guitar work by Daniel Ash seems to be made up of punk-like distortion but with chord execution that was hardly heard outside of heavy metal in the early 1980s. The vocal sneering and pondering of Peter Murphy is one of the most recognizable goth voices ever and he is at his best on most of this record. The rhythm section of brothers Kevin Haskins on drums and David J on bass has held together Bauhaus and Love and Rockets (only Haskins worked in Tones On Tail). On this record both are solid and creative.

The opening track Third Uncle is a cover of Brian Eno's 1974 release. If not for the effects used by Daniel Ash on guitar and the hint of bongo drums this would be a punk standard. The pummeling pace of the track is an effective effort to grab your attention from the get-go. And it works. It is not, however, a true indication of what is to come. Almost nothing else on the album picks up to this speed. It's inclusion has to be more of a happy wave to the earlier material that influenced the emerging genre of goth.

Silent Hedges takes the pace of the record straight down. Ash's guitar work here sounds very much like what will appear on Tones On Tail classic Go. It is almost as if David J's bass is carrying the tune and the guitar is sound effect and layered on top. Yielding one of the best lyrics from the album "what happens when the intoxication of success has evaporated" this track does a great job of presenting a culture's architecture as an indication of its lethargy.

The third track on the record In The Night is standard goth fare. It will be emulated and parodied. Razor-like guitar work and almost tribal drumming. A nifty change of speed to another near-punk rant towards the end of the song. And the subject matter being suicide. Oh! the melodrama. This works.

Swing The Heartache shows some of the things about early goth that were retained by the soon to emerge Industrial bands. The metal-on-metal percussion and swirling background noises are almost required on any industrial records. The pace of Swing The Heartache could hardly be considered as industrial though. Slow and meandering, this is plaintive weeping through the eyes of a young woman.

What often separates (irreparably) those who prefer straight-up hard rocking from those who enjoy goth is the affectation and pomposity of goth theatrics and dramatics. Well, with Spirit Bauhaus moves head-long into theatrics. This is a shining gem of a track that puts away the heavy distortion for a moment and creeps at you with harpsichord keyboards and lyre-sounding guitar. The depiction of the actor prancing around his stage is more than a little reminiscent of Vincent Price in Theatre of Blood. The mantra refrain "we love our audience" finishing off the song is representative of the affectation often found in goth records. Although the band's delivery (which is one of their true gifts) stops you taking this too seriously. They mean it, but not in a good humoured way.

Songs like The Three Shadows also contribute to some people's dislike of goth and yet other people's love of it. A mini-opus (how pompous and "art-rock" can you get?) in the middle of the record that is broken into three parts. Part I is an instrumental that sounds as if it should have been the score for the Basil Rathbone version of Hound of the Baskervilles. Very simple, moody guitar work and bass make up this track. This IS art-rock.

Moving gently upwards in tempo The Three Shadows (Part II) is essentially a waltz. Albeit a waltz for Dracula and the Bride of Frankenstein. The lyrics here are almost nonsensical if not considered in conjunction with Part III of the opus. Like the first installment, this is sparsely populated with music. Minimalist doesn't quite seem naked enough to describe it. But this is probably Peter Murphy's best activity on the album. His lungs are in rare form and his sneer has seldom been more finely tuned. The lyrics will grab your attention even if they are not always understood on the first listen.

The Three Shadows (Part III) picks up the pace another notch although the song is very brief. Throbbing piano and uncredited violin sounds are what make up the background music. At first the lyrics seem somewhat obscene and pointless but this changes with more listening. This is pure angst toward the mindless existence of blind conformity. The powerful imagery used here centres around fish and baited hooks. You will never look at your children’s' goldfish bowl the same way again.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything has an almost juvenile song and lyric structure. I suppose the song must have a point of view but I'll be buggered if I can tell you what it is. Generally speaking, it seems to be about the waste of life and youth in a small blue collar town. Other than some strumming there is almost no music here. It's almost an anti-song. But it works in a way that possibly only this record would allow.

The final track on the original album Exquisite Corpse is a strange beast indeed. You probably couldn't think up a more goth song title. At first the song does not appear to belong here. Reggae is the sound most apparent throughout the track and its inclusion here seems very, strange indeed. At one point the guitar theme from Silent Hedges is reintroduced. And this actually does work. The reggae sound becomes much heavier toward the fade-out. It's heavy enough to remind one of the intro to Banana Republic by The Boomtown Rats (released in 1980) but the bands are probably too divergent for the Rats to be a true influence on Bauhaus. There is an eerie silence at the end of this track, interrupted by an even creepier dialog that sounds sampled from somewhere. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the meaning of this track. Please post your thoughts.

The Canadian release of The Sky's Gone Out contained a bonus 12" that was different to the releases in the rest of the world. This is the one that I am most familiar with. The material on the 12" does not sound like the music offered on the album proper. It still sounds like Bauhaus but it's not quite the same.

Ziggy Stardust, love it or hate it, was never performed with this much power by David Bowie. Many people have raised the valid point that it probably should never be played this way. For me, it works. As good as the original? No. There is nothing unique about this rendition of the song other than the power. The point of its inclusion has to be marking influences. Who could claim a greater influence on goth than the glam rockers of the 1970s like Bowie, Marc Bolan (who's Telegram Sam is treated in a much more original way on other Bauhaus recordings) and Iggy Pop?

Credited with its original release in 1981 Kick In The Eye was a late night club classic in the early 1980s. Driving bass line, simple drumming, subtle/sparse use of guitar and Buddhist lyrical content pouring through Murphy's sneers. I'm being nostalgic now but I can recall a short set at Voodoo in Toronto (haven't a clue what the year was but it must have been '83) that included: To Hell With Poverty by Gang of Four, Ignore The Machine by Alien Sex Fiend and Kick In The Eye by Bauhaus. My life changed forever.

Lagartija Nick is one of the rare out and out rockers produced by Bauhaus. Powerful straight-up rock n' roll here. Even a hint of saxophone in the background chord changes that build during the last half of the song. There's a fullness of sound in this track that is not evident in most of the others on The Sky's Gone Out. More driving rhythm section work designed to keep everybody dancing. After all, isn't that what all good goths are supposed to do?

Response to this review by DarkWave): WOW! excellent review, you put my reviews to shame! you are a great writer! I have all Bauhaus album...except for this one, but after having reading your post, Ill think ill go buy it! keep up the good reviews, just can't wait to read your next one!

Response to this review by Bogie): Thanks for the kind words DarkWave. Run out and get the album now - you'll love it.
The CD available in Canada includes all the tracks that were on the original Vinyl. But puts Kick In The Eye in the middle of the album tracks. There's also a little bonus track called Earwax that is not listed on the back of the CD but is listed on the disc itself.

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