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Estranged

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Album Review

Love and Rockets loyalists are sure to recognize David J's familiar voice at the outset of Estranged, but they might be perplexed by the one-time Bauhaus bassist's cover choice. "Guitar Man," Bread's 1972 pop nugget, gets redone here with roaring riff work by guest player Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction. And if the man born Haskins pumps new life into this oldie, one can't help but wonder why he opted to start the album with a touch of novelty when some of his own material is far better. The pale bard still has it on "Static Cling" and "In the Great Blue Whenever," two somber but exceptional ballads buried midalbum that wisely utilize pedal steel accents. Country elements also infiltrate "Mess Up," a soft pop ode to personal demons, as well as "Crashed," where a twang guitar meets mid-tempo drum programming and lyrics about marital foul play. At times, most obviously on "Ruined Cities," David J's delivery — coupled with minimalist techno beats — sounds very similar to the dramatic stylings of The The's Matt Johnson, but even when he does impersonations, he does them quite well. While the barstool novelty of "Bright in Your Absence" delves further into the heart of Nashville than any goth star has the right to, Estranged is a fine effort, even if it is occasionally misguided. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi

Biography

Born: 24 April 1957 in Northampton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

David J (b. David J. Haskins), the bassist/vocalist for the seminal gothic rock band Bauhaus, launched a solo career in 1983, just as Bauhaus folded. His first solo album, Etiquette of Violence, didn't gather much attention, and he began working with the Jazz Butcher. After releasing two albums (Sex and Travel and A Scandal in Bohemia) with the cult musician, David J recorded his second solo album, Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh (1985). Soon afterwards, J and his Bauhaus cohorts, Daniel Ash...
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