By Christine Leonard
Gothic anthems for the modern age, that’s what post-punk outfit Bauhaus are famous for. Fashioned during a grueling six-hour long recording session at Beck Studios in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England, none stands higher than “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Some 40 years later L.A.’s Leaving Records is reopening the crypt and the crates, unearthing the band’s formative five-song demo EP.
Clocking in at around three minutes a piece, the tracks include the previously unreleased “Some Faces,” “Bite My Hip” and “Boys.” Not to be confused with Small Faces, “Some Faces” gets around town with a strummy, upbeat energy that suggests early Stones and Animals smoking hash in a back alley. Equally short and punchy, “Bite My Hip” was later reworked and issued as “Lagartija Nick,” but here it’s a jukebox boogie that does the twist in pointy leather boots. Yearning after Blondie, the skankin’ “Harry” stirs up a caffeinated coffin hop. The quirky sing-talk caricatures turn cranky on “Boys” with its terse vocals and goading percussion. Then there’s the real reason you’re going to pick up this album, the slowly unraveling funeral dirge for the beloved Dracula of the silver screen, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”
Glory in the familiar spinal rat-a-tat and slithering strings as their immortal muse coasts across the room like a shadow. What had once seemed so desolate and lonesome now explodes with life thanks to engineer Mandy Parnell (Aphex Twin, Björk, Brian Eno) who painstakingly remastered the original analogue tapes. Every tiny sound and gesture is set in high relief as the atmospheric 9:36 runtime creeper returns to vinyl for the first time in three decades. Cherished phantom of fandom, The Count himself bleeds through speakers and headphones with a phenomenal vividness that cries out for a virgin bride and yet another spin.Bauhaus, Leaving Records, Record Review, The Bela Session