Review Summary: The Godfather of Goth shows the world that his iconic voice is not hindered by age, and offers up one of the best solo albums of 2011 in the process.
Just because a voice helps define a genre does not mean that it ages well, many a defining vocalist has succumbed to the deterioration that comes with age. While they will always be well thought of or even loved for the sound of their glory days it is quite a different matter to listen as the years chip away at that iconic voice; luckily Peter Murphy has none of these issues. Coming off as strongly as his Bauhaus days the 53 year old British singer, actor, and father remains as energetic as ever with his latest solo album, Ninth
As “Velocity Bird” starts it becomes clear that the recording of the final Bauhaus album, Go Away White
, had some influence on Ninth
. The track oozes refinement and poise; the guitar work is stately rather than thundering, the bass loud yet proper. The two interweave and switch places on center stage quite frequently, allowing Murphy's metaphorical lines “I'm a velocity bird, in an invisible star. I'm a velocity bird, passing all speeding cars.. your whisper is mine” to stand on vocal prowess alone. While some of Murphy's lines are straight and to the point others have hidden meanings, devout fans will instantly know about the instance from whence the title of “I Spit Roses” gets its name.
The pacing of the album is a relaxing change from the breakneck world of mainstream music, the tracks are allowed to ebb and flow on their own refraining from feeling forced or out of place. Murphy also knows when it is time to bring more of his iconic vocal power to bear, tracks such as “Peace To Each” could easily fit on most of his earlier albums. Album single “I Spit Roses” contains some of the albums most gorgeous lyrical content, though a few listeners will find the repeated use of “I spit roses...” a bit over done for their tastes. Murphy is not content to sit on the lower end of the vocal spectrum either, the higher notes roll out his throat seemingly with no effort whatsoever giving lifetime fans goosebumps.
The quieter moments of Ninth
are truly beautiful to behold; “Never Fall Out” does a masterful job of obtaining a peacefulness that few solo albums ever manage to obtain with it's heartfelt lyrics and lower range crooning. Luckily though not every track is something befitting that of an older romantic film score; with a driving bass line, and catchy use of guitar “Memory Go” begins with a sense of urgency that builds until the chorus. And while instrumentally the urgency remains Murphy's voice controls the pace, speeding up and slowing down so as to keep the listener both entertained and on their toes.
is a superb solo offering wrapped in a timeless post-rock package. The lyrical and vocal prowess of Peter Murphy remains as strong as it did in his younger days, indeed if anything they have matured past that of his glory days. Remaining as poised as the British man himself Ninth
is an album full of life and vitality, a cry out to the world that this is one man who is alive and well in these times of turmoil. Beautiful, haunting, driving, and refined; Ninth
is a true highlight of 2011.