Live albums either suck or they don’t. There’s no gray area here. Your album either manages to truly capture that live energy, those different/updated versions of classics, and gives fans a sense of what it’s like to witness the performance in person (Or live it over and over again for someone who’s experienced it) or your album showcases cookie cutter versions of the songs with generic banter and crowd noise interspersed throughout the recording. End of story.
For a seasoned performing veteran like Peter Murphy, it’s a no-brainer what kind of live album he’s going to put out so it should be no surprise that the minute fans press play on the just released Bare-Boned And Sacred album they’ll immediately be transported to the front of the stage in awe of what they’re experiencing (Or transported to the back of the crowd with their arms folded and head bobbing like a proper goth).
But I digress.
The legendary Peter Murphy continues to step out of the shadow world he helped create on goth classics like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and Burning from the Inside on Bare-Boned and Sacred which sees Murphy at his most vulnerable yet with a collection of reinterpreted classics and covers. Despite a track list that spans his entire career, the stripped down and earnest versions presented within Bare-Boned And Sacred are like listening to these songs for the first time all over again.
Beginning with the title/closing track off 1995’s Cascade, Murphy’s uncanny baritone immediately sets the stage for a brilliant set of songs which continues through the otherworldly “Secret” and the xylophone/guitar driven “All Night Long” off 1988’s Love Hysteria.
Another fantastic element of an outstanding live album is showcasing the minor vocal breaks and strains (Or band flubs, for that matter) which separate a concert from a clinical studio recording making it even more unique. Just listen to the cover of David Bowie’s “Bewlay Brothers” and Murphy reaching for those notes and the raw emotion contained within making him, and the performance so much more human.
Elsewhere, Murphy delivers flawless, updated versions of “The Rose”, revisits Bauhaus with a fitting medley, delivers a somber rendition of “Your Face” as well as a haunting, almost ethereal variant of “Gaslit”. Bare-Boned And Sacred is an essential purchase for fans of Murphy (Obviously!) but also a must-listen for those music fans looking for an example on how to execute a live album the right way.
Bare-Boned and Sacred is out now through Metropolis Records. Yours can be purchased digitally and physically right here.