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The Waking Hour

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Album Review

Either a temporary project, a promising alliance that fell apart, or a waste of time — Dali's Car and its sole effort isn't something easily agreed upon, even by longtime fans of both Peter Murphy and Mick Karn. Even its original appearance was fraught with doubt given that the two were signed to separate record companies, resulting in the creation of a wholly new label just to get it in print (Beggars Banquet has since taken over full pressing on its own). While on the one hand Waking Hour is pretty much the sum of its parts — Murphy's dramatic, edgy singing style and Karn's fluid, immediately recognizable fretless bass and other instruments, plus percussion from Paul Lawford — there was enough variety going on to set it apart enough from the legacies of both Bauhaus and Japan. On the one hand, the band's music feels a little harsher and more electronic than the flowing arrangements of late Japan, no doubt accentuated by the electronic drums in place of Steve Jansen's work. Similarly, the production feels a bit hollower — not quite demo level, but a little more straightforward all around, occasional fripperies like the exotic synth line on "His Box" aside. Meanwhile, Murphy avoids the more torturous roars and screams of his most extreme work in Bauhaus — it's still recognizably him at 50 paces off, but everything feels a touch gentler and more meditative. He indulges in his usual cryptic images, admittedly — quite what "Dali's Car" itself is meant to be is unclear — but as is so often the case, his all-around performance is what counts the most. If nothing else, points for credit for the cover art: a lovely reproduction of the famed Maxfield Parrish painting Daybreak.

Biography

Formed: 1984

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '10s

Dalis Car were doomed almost from the start. A seemingly good idea when first suggested to former Bauhaus vocalist/lyricist Peter Murphy that he collaborate with ex-Japan bassist/composer Mick Karn, the group nearly self-destructed before it was disbanded. Their sole album, The Waking Hour, released in 1984, came in more than £20,000 ($30,000) over the £40,000 ($60,000) budget given them by Virgin and Beggars Banquet. A commercial failure, the album produced one equally disappointing single, "The...
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The Waking Hour, Dalis Car
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