Honestly, there are very few people who are into post-punk music, that do not know the name David J. David John Haskins, a founding member of Bauhaus and a member of Love And Rockets, also known as The Bubblemen, has worked on a solo career since 1983. While being very prolific in the avant-guard music world, he has had a huge influence on many musicians with his writing style, experimentation and most definitely his bass playing. To this end, David J has released a compilation of tracks, originally only available to his Patreon fans but now available on CD, digital and vinyl. Called “What The Patrons Heard“, these are previously unreleased tracks and it all drops on March the 25th, 2022, on the label GIVE/TAKE.
There is the overly jaunty “Lay Over And Lay” and it sweeps in and takes your breath away with a joyous veracity. What a start to this venture. “(I Don’t Want To Destroy) Our Beautiful Thing” is a far more subdued affair. A slight country feel in this one as David J goes deep on the title of the song. A love song about the person that has stuck with him through the good and bad… and it really is a beautiful thing. After being associated with one of the most goth bands and having a huge amount of input into writing the most famous and possibly longest vampire song ever, maybe you do get the “Vampire Blues“. However this vampire seems to be definitely on the fuzzy pedal of undead music. Slow and deliberate, with what sounds like something being dragged across the strings of a piano, give it all a deranged quality.
“Gimme Some Truth” is almost a throw back to the Love And Rocket days, with near staccato vocals ie “Ball Of Confusion” style, mixed with hurdy-gurdy fair flare and cuts of Trump in full flight absurdity. There is some backwards tape playing and Spanish inspired guitar while David J narrates a story about “His Majestiy The Executioner” while the music swirls in the background in support, trickling like a train of thought. A story of a State were there is very little tolerance -not very nice having the ice cream seller executed! There is something so very charming about “The Shadow” even if they are a creature of the night, whom has a penchant for a touch of murder, for he is Death. The near whispered tale of the shadow that has no pity for the humans who are leaving this mortal coil.
The name “The Rape Of The Rose Garden” sounds a little serious but this is almost a Pogues style piece, it feels like a Irish dittie about apple trees being planted in the White House garden by Jackie Kennedy. There is such a overwhelming feeling of loss or being lost in “Scott Walker 1996“. A drone in the background and what is presumed to be castanets, keeping the time to the spoken word. There is a certain amount of absurdness in “Down In The Tenderloin“. And yet there is also a certain amount of wistfulness in this oddity. “A Girl In Port” is the last tune and it is a sweet track, with reference to Camden Town. A gorgeous homage about a girl, done on acoustic guitar, piano, some slide guitar and violin. His voice melts into you, warm and golden.
For me personally, it is heartwarming to hear David J performing these tracks. They are quirky, symbolic and have the ability to transport you away to another place or another life. It is also nice to see that unlike other “gothic” heroes, he still enjoys the macabre and dark, mixing grim history with his tongue firmly placed in cheek. As an orator Mr J is beautifully spoken and as a singer, he calls to your soul with a voice, it seems, untouched with age. My favourites are “The Shadow” and “A Girl In Port“, so maybe you need to discover yours from “What The Patrons Heard“.