While the other three members forged on with nary a breath to contemplate what lay behind them, it took the ex-Bauhaus frontman 3 long years to record his first solo album. Here Murphy’s path was a more cautious one, making tentative steps with ex-Japan bassist Mick Karn for their unspectacular avant garde art piece Dalis Car before recording the 8 original tracks and 2 covers that would make up If The World Should Fail To Fall Apart in 1986.
If The World.. wasn’t to be the success start to a solo career that Murphy had hoped for (if indeed this was his intention). The dated production and use of technology makes a reappraisal almost impossible to get through. It’s not that the songs are all bad, it just lacks cohesion. The two covers by Pere Ubu and Magazine fly in the face of the Murphy’s apparent new direction and by default show a lack of confidence in his own material.
The lush atmosphere and fretless bass playing on “Canvas Beauty” connect the dots from Bauhaus to Dalis Car to the present, while the fierce pop pull of “Blue Heart” and the shadowy “Never Man” both tease at what the fifth Bauhaus album might’ve sounded like (and not the abortion that would be Go Away White).If The World Should Fail To Fall Apart (the less said about the title track the better) was an attempt to sound contemporary, for Murphy to somehow find a place in the mainstream, when his true place was always on the outside.
With this 2cd reissue, all extraneous bits and pieces lingering on vinyl b-sides and squirreled away in vaults have found their home on the second disc. Amongst multiple versions of Pere Ubu’s “The Final Solution” are an unreleased cover of Bowie’s “Stay” and the impressive should’ve-been-a-single “Tale Of The Tongue”, a track ridiculously relegated to b-side status. Given its shaky start, one wonders about Murphy’s state of mind when he began down the solo career path and whether his heart was truly in it. But he got there in the end, didn’t he?