His last live album may have only been released a couple of years ago, but ‘Bare Boned and Sacred’ shows a very different face of Peter Murphy as a performing artist. Indeed, performance is very much the emphasis here, as he explores a longstanding preoccupation with image and approaches the songs from a different perspective. Essentially an acoustic-based set, captured during the ‘Stripped’ tour, ‘Bare Boned and Sacred’ finds Murphy, accompanied by John Andrews (guitar) and Emilio China (bass / electric violin), getting to the very essence of the songs.
Opening with ‘Cascade’, which slowly unfurls its hypnotic spirals amid brooding shadows. Murphy is in fine voice, and if time and again I find myself thinking just how Bowie-like he sounds, well, it’s hardly a criticism.
The obligatory Bowie cover ‘Bewlay Brothers’ is subtitled ‘Bowie Tribute RIP’, and ironically, finds Murphy sounding less like Bowie than on the majority of the other songs. But, unironically, what Murphy brings to this performance is a deep emotion, his voice cracking as he digs for the song’s soul.
‘A Strange Kind of Love’ oozes an aching melancholy, the simple acoustic guitar and mournful violin providing the perfect accompaniment to Murphy’s emotive vocal display. Despite the sparse instrumentation, there are moments of tempestuous intensity, not least of all on ‘The Rose’.
The focus on material from ‘Burning from the Inside’ makes for an interesting and perhaps unusual selection for the ‘Bauhaus Medley’, given the circumstances of the album’s recording. Segments of ‘King Volcano’, ‘Kingdom’s Coming’, ‘Silent Hedges’ are segued together, and nicely done.
The set’s finale is a full ten-minute rendition of ‘Your Face’ from ‘Dust’. Sparse, haunting and bleak, it’s a powerful performance.
Peter Murphy Online