In The Flat Field
Few debut albums have ever arrived as nearly perfectly formed as In the Flat Field. It practically invented what remains for many as the blueprint of goth music. Starting with the angst of “Double Dare,” with its shattering guitar over a curious but fierce stop-start rhythm and Peter Murphy raging even more fiercly over the top, In the Flat Field contains a wide variety of inspirations and ideas. The astonishingly precise rhythm section of David J and Kevin Haskins pulls off a variety of jaw-dropping performances, including the high-paced tension of the title track and the brooding crawl of “Spy in the Cab.” Daniel Ash, much like his longtime hero Mick Ronson, turns out to be a master of turning relatively simple guitar parts into apocalyptic explosions, from the background fills on “St. Vitus Dance” to the brutal descending chords of “Stigmata Martyr.” Murphy, meanwhile, channels as much Iggy Pop as he does Bowie, proving to be no simple copyist of either, able to both maniacally sing-shout and take a somewhat lighter touch throughout. The album concludes with the seven-minute “Nerves,” an aptly titled piece that alternates between understated energy and unleashed power spiraling toward a dramatic ending. In the Flat Field started off Bauhaus’ album career with a near-perfect bang.