Bella Emberg’s Dad

Bauhaus… Chilly? Pretentious? Goths?! Perhaps not the first outfit one would expect to grace the electronic pages of Skank Blog, though the (occasionally warranted) ridicule often levelled at Northampton’s kings of po-facery can make it easy to forget that they did release some damned fine records, many of which were, without a doubt, heavily dub-influenced.

Strangely, the song in question for today’s Skanky purposes also happens to be the song that defined both their career and arguably the Goth ‘movement’ itself.
Bela Lugosi’s Dead was recorded just six weeks after the band’s formation, and is of course now the stuff of legend. Equally revered and reviled, often parodied, and featuring in more horror films than I would want to remember, old Bela is a glorious monster of a record, the dub sensibilities of which are often overlooked.

Swathed in tape echo, drums lope and skitter around its deep three-chord bassline, a reedy guitar creeps insidiously into the frame, giving way after what seems like an eternity to Peter Murphy’s trademark Bowie-from-the-tomb vocal, and the result is like being stabbed with an icicle by Augustus Pablo.

The ‘Haus didn’t stop there either – In Fear of Dub, Here’s The Dub and Dave & Danny’s Waspie are but a few of their excursions into similar territory, and bloody good they are too, although nothing quite matches the sombre majesty of their first foray into the darkest recesses of our hearts.

Raise your stakes, ladies and gentlemen – the bats are leaving the belltower…

(Dread Zed)

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