11 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The spindly ex-Bauhaus frontman helped write rock’s book of gloom (alongside Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees, et al) for legions of David Bowie–obsessed goth kids in the early '80s. That became his legacy. He has since aged rather gracefully within (and without) goth’s musical constraints, especially on 1988’s pop-transcendent Love Hysteria. Lion—his 10th solo album—is the best record he’s done since then. It exquisitely bottlenecks Bowie-ish art-house melodrama (“The Rose,” “I’m on Your Side”) with springy electro-pop (“Low Tar Stars”), dark glam (“Hang Up,” “Holy Clown”), and Turkish violins (“I Am My Own Name”). The music sounds vampire-ageless, yet overcast as hell. When Murphy sings a line like “I like that bitter pill/The killer instinct still,” you know he believes it. His voice is supersized in spots (rising to James Hetfield–like urgency on “The Ghost of Shokan Lake”); then it moves like gently exhaled cigarette smoke (especially atop the creepy theremin on “Loctaine”). Ably produced by Killing Joke’s Martin “Youth” Glover, Murphy’s rock theater is big, wide, and forever lanky.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The spindly ex-Bauhaus frontman helped write rock’s book of gloom (alongside Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees, et al) for legions of David Bowie–obsessed goth kids in the early '80s. That became his legacy. He has since aged rather gracefully within (and without) goth’s musical constraints, especially on 1988’s pop-transcendent Love Hysteria. Lion—his 10th solo album—is the best record he’s done since then. It exquisitely bottlenecks Bowie-ish art-house melodrama (“The Rose,” “I’m on Your Side”) with springy electro-pop (“Low Tar Stars”), dark glam (“Hang Up,” “Holy Clown”), and Turkish violins (“I Am My Own Name”). The music sounds vampire-ageless, yet overcast as hell. When Murphy sings a line like “I like that bitter pill/The killer instinct still,” you know he believes it. His voice is supersized in spots (rising to James Hetfield–like urgency on “The Ghost of Shokan Lake”); then it moves like gently exhaled cigarette smoke (especially atop the creepy theremin on “Loctaine”). Ably produced by Killing Joke’s Martin “Youth” Glover, Murphy’s rock theater is big, wide, and forever lanky.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
55 Ratings

55 Ratings

mozollini ,

THE VOICE!

Thanks to Killing Joke producer, he allowed Peter Murphy to let rip his vocal style akin to his Live performances. Then added electronics to go with the power guitar sound. Peter Murphy has always had the best voice in goth/pop/rock field. Now you HEAR IT! Gorgeous Album.

RodrigoBlanco ,

Beautiful Album

Peter is one of those few artists that really has never put out a bad solo album in his entire career. Whatever stylistic differences the albums have, they're always top notch. I LOVE the sound of this album. Youth has produced many amazing albums for a wide number of artists but the combination of him and Murphy together is a match made in heaven. Can't recommend this album enough.

Aaron1979 ,

Stupendous Return to Form

Peter Murphy's "Lion" is an unequivocal triumph. "Lion" finds Murphy balancing his impeccable songwriting and lyricism with his continued foray into electronic instrumentation. Aurally - to echo the sentiments of countless listeners - it does sound like a strange amalgamation of Bauhaus, Nine Inch Nails, and 21st Century Depeche Mode. The surprising thing is: it works. Murphy's voice is in fine form, albeit somewhat subdued in the mix. "Hang Up" will go down as a classic Murphy tune: it swells with calm electronic looping as Peter's vocals become increasingly frayed, hanging on the edge of existential crisis. It sounds like something from latter-day Depeche Mode. "I Am My Own Name" starts slow before exploding in a gloriously repetitive chorus. "Compression" will also go down as one of Peter's finest: quiet and contemplative gives way to a gigantic soundscape that has to be heard to be believed. "The Ghost of Shokan Lake" is exactly how Murphy characterizes the album: a "rabble-rousing pirate sea shanty." "Eliza" hearkens to "Deep"-era material; exceptionally danceable with a tambourine-laden chorus that soars above Peter's wailing. It would be at home in an 80s goth club. "Loctaine" features one of our goth hero's gentlest deliveries in a long, long time.

Overall, "Lion" is an immense improvement over Murphy's latest efforts, particularly "Ninth." It is a fine return to form and indicative - to me - that Peter Murphy continues to be a viable contributor to pop and rock while many of his contemporaries wither among the hipster postmodern indies and fickle contemporary mainstream. Well done, Mr. Murphy.

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