In the Flat Field



by Justin Woodmancy USER (12 Reviews)
March 17th, 2012 | 278 replies

Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most strange and powerful albums I've heard...You absolutely have to have this album, It has no boundaries on it's influences and musical diversity. Listen to it now.

So you just got your dirty little hands on Bauhaus' debut album? Well, let me tell you something, prepare you ears for an awe inspiring musical ride. In it's short 38 minute running time, it scans over so many different emotions and musical directions. You will be amazed at the intensity of the vocals, the dissonance of the guitar and the truely awkward tendencies of the bass. It''s quirky, It's scary, It's Intense, It's Bauhaus, and at first listen, you may be thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?". The only answer to that my friend is, one hell of a trip through the blackest alleyways of a desolated and long forgotten town that is crumbling underneath the brilliance of this album. Does that make sense? No. But neither does this album...

The album starts out with some real odd bass playing. They often utilize this, so get use to it. Wasting no time they jump into a popping bassline driven by powerful drums and insanely dramatic vocals. Peter Murphy pushes his voice to the limits on this LP showing that he has little to know restraints in his voice. Always he is pushing the songs into the depths of despair and agony with just sheer emotional power. It's really something to listen to. The opener is a fantastic track, displaying only a fraction of what the band is capable of though. The guitar plays it safe in the opener compared to other tracks. Take "Stigmata Martyr" for an example. At one point in the song, when Peter Murphy, I believe is either singing in toungues or in reverse, the guitar is doing something out of this world. It kind of sounds like demented birds chirping out of rhythm. I don't know really how to describe it. It paints such a vivid picture in the listener's mind though, as does every song. It seems to me as the album progresses, so does the strangeness of the music. The song "Small Talk Stinks" brings up memories of past Beatles' songs, or maybe even The Olivia Tremor Control. The track "St. Vitus Dance" (no, it's not Sabbath) features probably the strangest bass tone and accompanying bass line I've ever heard. The lyrics are equally unothodox as machines and dancing are often referenced. Possibly the most strange part of the song is the vocals. Towards the end, Peter just shrieks like an ape to the music, driving the song into pure musical insanity. Definately a highlight from the album. The atmoshere present in this album is also fantastic. The raw production of the music makes the tracks scratch out at the infinitely black chasm of sounds swirling around your frail mind so much more intense and enjoyable. Nothing is candy-coated on this album. The lyrics, the music and the atmosphere are all as painful as can be, each instruments bubbles out of the mix sometimes causing needless distortion to question you sanity. But that's most likely normal after sitting through this mess.

Despair and depression are often expressed through music. But, not often is it displayed so effortlessly and effective like in this album. Maybe it's the lyrics that drive such emotions through the inpenetrable music. They really are something special. The lyrics in the title track are extremely well put together. So abnormal, they effectively create the feeling of misguided anger out of boredom or depression. To me, the lyrics depict a painfully boring and monotonous place in which the vocalist inhabited during themaking of the music. It seems plausible. Regardless of the dark intentions of some tracks on the album, a few songs maintain a mildly positive and fun atmosphere. "Dive" especially does this. The song really reminds me of Joy Division's "Interzone" because of the upbeat riffage and low tone of the vocals. Murphy's singing often reminds me of Ian Curtis, but in a very good way. Possibly the darkest and most powerful song here is "God In An Alcove". The vocals are layered and extremely present throughout the track. Despite the song's intense attributes, it remains incredibly catchy. After hearing the song enough you will find yourself yelling along with "Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Alcove!" I find it hard not to.

This album is very unique. It is extremely intense, one of the most musically intense albums I've ever heard, really. Dark and diverse songs are all brought to life by Murphy's shiver enducing shrieks and breathtakingly vivd lyrics. The music creates such a strong atmosphere of hate, sadness, horror and dense imagery that will be stuck in your mind for hours even after you've stopped listening to it. The music may come off to some as being overbearingly dramatic at times. Take the begginning of "God in an Alcove" or the finale of the album at the end of "Nerves". These peices of music are actualy quite terrifiying.

After reading all of this, you may be skeptical of popping this disc into you stereo. That's perfectly normal. The album is rediculously intense and may scare off unexpected listeners. But, because you read this, you should have mentally prepared yourself for the onslaught of shrieks, cries, quirky basslines, awkwardness, riffs, emotion and just pure brutality and honesty. Very strange music I know, but you should be fine. It may seem a little a bit exxagerated, and maybe it is. But all I know is, this album demands reapect and needs to be heard by all fans of great music. Also this album recquires "NERVES LIKE NYLON, NERVES LIKE STEEL!!!", just to make it through to the end, maintaining your sanity.

Double Dare
God In An Alcove
In The Flat Field
Spy In The Cab
(In No Order)

Criticism welcome, as always...Make sure to comment!


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user ratings (568)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 17th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Sorry about the spelling errors, guys. It's sometimes hard to type on my laptop.

March 17th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Pretty good little review man. This album is without a shadow of a doubt the best goth rock album ever. Literally nothing sounds like old Bauhaus, they were so unique and awesome. This album stays in my regular rotation and I used to have a poster of the album cover in my room, good times.

God so many good songs on here. St. Vitus Dance might be the best though.

March 17th 2012


Band is great.

March 17th 2012


Aaaahhh I really need to hear this thanks for reminding me. Love me some Post-Punk.

March 17th 2012



I prefer Mask but I still give this a spin every once in a while

March 17th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

kool album

March 17th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

Finally this gets a review [2]

amazing album from a legendary band

March 18th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

How was my review guys?

March 23rd 2012


Bumping this even though no one cares

May 23rd 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Many people seem to think this is Bauhaus' finest album, but I would quite happily save that spot for 'The Sky's gone out'. Nonetheless, what bauhaus have always excelled at is changing their sound so many times that it's hard to generalize them into one singular genre. I find a few songs on their debut annoying, namely 'Dive' and 'Stigmata Martyr', simply because they don't quite work as well as the other songs do. But this is more than made up for with the sweet, tender piano-led tunes of 'Crowds' and the excellent bass work on songs such as 'Nerves' (being one of my favourite Bauhaus songs of all time) and 'Doubledare'. Also thinking of reviewing 'The Sky's gone out' and 'Burning the inside out' soon.

May 23rd 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yes, linguist

December 26th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Bumping this album because it is amazing.

January 30th 2013


Opener is way better than the rest

February 2nd 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

I have to disagree. I think it's pretty consistent. Granted the opener is fucking awesome.

February 27th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

good rev good alb

March 20th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, this was second first Goth album I bought (the first was Disintegration, by The Cure). Great album, very unique.

March 20th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

Great album.

April 10th 2013


meh, i might enjoy this after a few repeated listens.. but for now, it kinda bores me.

April 13th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

Awww, really? I loved it first listen. Oh well, it should grow on ya.

April 27th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

This just makes me want to dance. Pure and simple.

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