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Bauhaus: Crackle: The Best Of... Bauhaus 
Crackle: The Best Of...
[Beggars Banquet]
Rating: 8.8
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For 15 years, fans have been spreading rumors of a Bauhaus reunion. Ever since walking off the stage together for the last time in the summer of 1983, the band has been more and more popularly regarded as a legend of the music scene the British press first called "gothic rock." Years afterwards, the offshoot projects of Bauhaus still tease audiences by slipping into brief moments of popular Bauhaus songs-- rarely playing any of them all the way through until Love and Rockets added the Bauhaus track "Slice of Life" to their regular set list for their Sweet F.A. tour in 1995.

But now, amidst a flurry of media attention, they've actually done it. Initially booking two L.A. shows to see if the spark was still there, the band agreed to add additional dates after the Hollywood Palladium reported the fastest sellout shows since the 1991 Jane's Addiction tour. The Palladium added a third show, and a warm-up show was slated for the Hollywood athletic club, attracting the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, and actor Billy Zane, amongst others.

The band has gotten back together to take a bit of time to work on something they say they've never completed. That is to say, the Bauhaus project had never really ended, but the members had decided that their own influences and interests were becoming divergent enough that they went their separate ways. Whether or not this is going to result in a new album by Bauhaus remains to be seen-- and guitarist Daniel Ash, bassist David J and drummer Kevin Haskins, who make up the band Love and Rockets, plan on touring after their new album comes out this autumn. Until that decision is made, we have Crackle, a recent compilation of remastered tracks from the four years of the Bauhaus legacy.

Although it contains no new tracks, Crackle contains the studio version of the Bauhaus classic, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," and it's the only Bauhaus album to do so. It's obvious that a good deal of money was spent on the disc-- the clarity of the recordings has notably improved, and it's much easier to pick out the roles of the individual instruments than on previous Bauhaus recordings. So distinct are some of the sounds, in fact, that it's easy to pick up on mistakes in "The Sanity Assassin," where the fretless bass is played a hair too flat.

But while the album allows one to hear the technical flaws in the playing when they're there, it also shows off the band's ability to play. And when they're on, they're really on. For the inexperienced, the disc stays pretty close to what the band had played at the Hollywood shows, and is a good introduction for anybody who wants to know what all the buzz is about.

Now that MTV has featured more about Bauhaus in a few weeks than they have in the 15 years since the band's break-up, Crackle offers a fine retrospective of the material that both Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson claim was a "major influence" of their music.

-Skaht Hansen

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