Mask (Bonus Track Version)
More sonically robust and viscerally aggressive than their self titled debut, 1981’s Mask finds Bauhaus securing their claim on the dark sonic territory that groups like The Birthday Party and Joy Division had explored before them. Though Mask introduces a few new sounds into Bauhaus’ palette, the razor thin guitar racket, and flat mechanistic beats of their debut In The Flat Field remain largely intact. Nonetheless Mask marked a major step forward for Bauhaus; though their general approach had changed little, on Mask Bauhaus seemed to realize that they could graft their ludicrously gloomy aesthetic onto hip-shaking dance rhythms. The results can be seen on tracks like the sinuous “Hair of The Dog” which stomps like glam and shakes like disco, while the swinging groove of “In Fear of Fear” contrasts sharply, but pleasurably with Peter Murphy’s somnolent wail, to create a sound that was, at the time, entirely unfamiliar to pop audiences. Though the stylistic blueprint that Bauhaus hewed out with Mask would eventually be unforgivably mangled by legions of second rate imitators, one can still revisit this album with fresh ears and recognize it for the triumph that it undoubtedly is.