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Holy Smoke

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Album Review

Hopes for another surprise American success from Peter Murphy with Deep's follow-up went unfulfilled, as success proved not to be the case; released in the initial craze of the grunge/alternative mega-crossover, Smoke's elegant ballads and angular, arty rockers simply didn't fit in. Taken on its own merits, though, Smoke is quite a strong release, avoiding any cloning of Deep or "Cuts You Up" in favor of a different approach meant to bring out the band's live power more directly. Producer Mike Thorne gets some great performances out of them and Murphy both, giving the album a crisp, solid punch throughout, even during its quieter moments. The album is like Deep in one important respect — variety, which is showcased successfully throughout. "Low Room" was an especially powerful blast, the band firing out a choppy, strong rhythm as Murphy almost barks his lyrics; similar, if not as totally successful, energy appeared with "Kill the Hate" and "Dream Gone By." On the quieter tip, "Let Me Love You," the understated drive of "Our Secret Garden," and the lovely opener "Keep Me From Harm" are all fine showcases for Murphy at his most love-drunk. "The Sweetest Drop" was the lead single, but better choices would have been "You're So Close," with an anthemic, stunning chorus and a flat-out brilliant vocal, and the cleverly titled "Hit Song." Murphy's dramatic singing, concluding in a duet with guest singer Alison Limerick's lovely falsetto, makes it all the more enjoyable.

Biography

Born: 11 July 1957 in Northampton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Despite having a successful solo career as a cult artist, vocalist Peter Murphy remains best known as the lead singer for Bauhaus, the pioneering...
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Holy Smoke, Peter Murphy
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