Ambitious artist of ‘Deep’ album makes new sound as well as effort to show vocal, songwriting talents

By Emmett Overbey

All too often, when a well-known frontman of a well-known band sets out on his own, and his solo sound fails to mark any departure from that of the original band.

Case in point: Morrissey’s solo stuff sounds a whole lot like The Smiths.

Somehow, all the different albums to come from the members of the defunct Goth band Bauhaus have managed to generate their own unique sounds. Peter Murphy’s solo albums have had the biggest chore since bands are often identified by their vocalists and the ex-lead singer really has to work at creating a new sound. And create a new sound he has.

“Deep” is the third solo project from Murphy. Released by Beggars Banquet/RCA, the album makes the effort to showcase Murphy’s songwriting and vocal talents, whereas most of the Bauhaus albums seemed mainly to promote his theatrics.

Neither of Murphy’s previous albums (“Love Hysteria” and “Should the World Fail to Fall Apart”) received stunning amounts of critical attention, but both were well-made and respectable commercial successes.

With “Deep,” Murphy doesn’t seem to be changing his formula just to get an album into the charts. The majority of the cuts are heavily melodic, acoustic numbers which build atmosphere while Murphy slides up and down his impressive vocal range.

As with his other albums, a few songs (“Shy,” “Devil’s Teeth,” “Roll Call”) provide enough of a beat to get themselves piped into dance clubs, but they aren’t drastic enough to seem out of place on “Deep.”

As VH-1 continues to re-mold its image from that of a geriatric MTV to more of a mellow-yet-groovy, early-middle age, yuppie channel, it has begun showing videos from groups like Edie Brickell and Iggy Pop.

It won’t be too much of a shock if the videos from “Deep” show up on VH-1. In fact, Murphy has never sounded more like Iggy than on the album’s opener, “Deep Ocean, Vast Sea.”

Well, in a nutshell, “Deep” is by far Murphy’s most ambitious solo album yet. This will most probably be his entry into full commercial acceptance, and deservedly so. It’s not a Bauhaus re-hash in any form. It’s a great album which most definitely stands on its own.