There’s a lot going on in the world of Bauhaus these days, celebrating forty years since they first formed, and by way of celebration, they’re releasing this special E.P. of their first ever recording session. If the word Bauhaus conjures up images of goths, incense sticks, and dark moodiness, think again – they may be forever linked to the early 80’s goth movement, but delve a little deeper and their early sounds reveal a band more in tune with post punk, ska and psychedelia. These demos reveal the early origins of their sound, pulling together songs from the first time they ever recorded together in 1979. The E.P. features the full original nine minute version of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ as well as three previously unreleased tracks, and is the first time the complete original recording session from 1979 has been released.

Although they went on to define the goth movement, you get the feeling that they were inspired by the punk movement which was happening all around, yet wanted to firmly stamp their own identity onto it, as opposed to being mere three chord punk copyists. So with darker, moody lyrics, coupled with guitar sounds which although were still capable of being as sharp and choppy as the punks, the riffs lingered and became elongated, creating their own musical universe. Kicking off the E.P. we get the song they’re probably most famous for ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, all nine minutes of it, complete with its slow build up of subtle drums and gentle guitars before the unmistakable vocal tones of Peter Murphy come in, with his deep baritone and cavernous echo.

Then there’s ‘Some Faces’ which is a much less gloomy affair and is pure post punk with an uplifting  chorus, then there’s the equally catchy ‘Bite My Hip’ with twangy surf style guitar underpinning Murphy’s yearnings, then there’s ska syncopated rhythms of ‘Harry’, again far removed from the dark and gloom of the sounds they’re renowned for, apparently written about the great Blondie singer, and which also found its way on to a Bauhaus single b-side in 1982. Final tune ‘Boys’ could’ve been found on an early Pink Floyd release it’s so eerie and psychedelic, again a far cry from their most famous tune. The demo versions on this E.P. give a glimpse into how songs develop from demo versions into a more polished sound. These early recordings sound great in their raw form, as there’s a unique quality to hearing a band’s work in the demo stages – a little glimpse into the way they were working at that time. One for not only Bauhaus completests but anyone with an interest in post punk, and the early 80’s music scene.

Bauhaus: The Bela Sessions E.P. Released: 23rd November 2018 (Leaving Records / Stones Throw Records)

From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.