Ex-Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy apparently veered from his typical recording methods for his 10th solo studio album Lion (Nettwerk Records), employing the assistance of producer and Killing Joke member Youth (whom he'd never worked with before) and holing up in the studio to create all 11 of the album's songs.
The new approach and change of scenery suits the goth icon well. His detached and soaring voice has always set him apart from his clan of contemporaries and his vocals are still as deep, dark and mysterious as ever, his icy Bowie-esque croon often giving way to a more emotive, Iggy Pop-like wail that really shows off his range against the brooding electro-beats and pulsating rhythms. Youth's fabulous production work perfectly frames Murphy's haunting voice up against the slowly-building cathedral sounds of "Compression" just as effectively as on "Hang Up," the album's throbbing, danceable opener. (Video after the jump...)
Most of the album's mid-section is made up of slower, mid-tempo numbers, but Murphy's most dedicated fans will likely revel in the moody, intricate pacing and the vocal heights he reaches all throughout, especially on "The Rose," undoubtedly one of the best performances he's delivered in his long, illustrious career. "Eliza" almost hearkens back to the vintage Peter Murphy catalog, its air of familiarity conjuring memories of gloomy, clove smoke-filled clubs with packed dancefloors while still maintaining an incredibly fresh and contemporary sound.
Vocally fit and in fine musical form, Peter Murphy sounds energized and refreshed on Lion, up to the challenge of pleasing his legion of loyal followers as well as those who might have cast him off in recent years.
Critics' Rating: 3 and 1/2 out of 5 Stars
Peter Murphy performs at Orpheum in Ybor City on Wed., Aug. 6; get tickets are $20 in advance general, $100 VIP, and can be purchased here.
Video for "Hang Up" below.