David Cundiff | New Albany, Indiana United States | 01/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After the success of Deep, Peter Murphy had the daunting task of following up a hit. So what did he do? He took a year off! Like all post-hit albums Holy Smoke was percieved as a let-down. I don't agree with this at all. The Anton Corbijn photo of a rather tired looking Murphy on the cover I think indicates the more honest sound of this album. It was to be the last to feature the Hundred Men as Murphy's backup band. This album basically has a bad rep, but just listen to the beautiful singing on 'Let Me Love You' or 'Secret Garden'. The entire band gets involved in the songwriting on the final track 'Hit Song' which I think could have been just that had it been realeased as a single. The record label opted to release the far less commercial 'Sweetest Drop' instead. Don't listen to the naysayers about this album. Listen to the incredible songs for yourself."
A Haunting Reflection on Love and Loss-Murphy Style
Nick Dets | Tijuana | 06/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being a huge fan of Mr. Murphy's work in any arrangement, (I do think he musically progressed after Bauhaus, however) I was a little wary of his follow up to his masterpiece "Deep". I heard that his inspiration was wraught out from the previous album and that his new effort was forced and dull.
Finding it for a good price, I decided to give it a chance. I couldn't believe how aggressive, hypnotic and dark "Holy Smoke" proved to be. It hits hard in songs like "Kill the Hate" and "Low Room", but flows naturally in hauntingly beautiful love songs like "Let Me Love You", "Our Secret Garden" and "The Sweetest Drop". He starts to show an evolution into Turkish musical influence (which is explored further on "Dust" as Murphy made a spiritual move into Suficism) in the explosive opening track, "Keep Me From Harm". This album showcases an artist in the dawn of transformation and features work that is on par with Murphy's best.
Where "Deep" masterfully explored an empty, vacant stretch of socialite wasteland, Murphy didn't let "Holy Smoke" live in its shadow. There are a few references to "Deep", (see "Hit Song"'s lyrics "Walking down the street/breath the only friend" or "Keep Me From Harm"'s lyrics "Dug into that vast heart") but "Holy Smoke" feels more like a love submerssed in a blue ocean of lost, forgotten dreams.
Don't be steered wrong. "Holy Smoke" is a great part of Murphy's discography."
The softer side of Peter?
dianna laferry thomas | Norman, Oklahoma | 06/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a veteran fan of Peter's, you probably already own this one, but if you don't you should be prepared for a soft, eerie, occasionally sentimental breath of lusty, romantic Peter Murphy.A friend of mine jokingly referred to this particular album as "Goth Lite," with apologies to Peter's other fine releases... I thought it was funny, but the album really does need a few really quality listens and some time to grow on you. Don't get me wrong, Peter's voice is simply amazing on this album, and "Our Secret Garden" is a very pretty song. If you're completing your collection, get this album and listen to it on a rainy day for comfort. If you're just getting into Peter's work, try "Wild Birds," "Deep," or the new album "Dust." This is a wonderful recording, one that is perhaps not my very most favorite of Peter's, but still very dear to my heart."
Enlightening. Hot, yet cool.
dianna laferry thomas | 09/18/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think it is one of his best solo albums. Deeply interesting. Good on long car trips. Has unusual moods. Brings together all realms of life into a succinct sonic package."
Holy Smoke Revisited
dianna laferry thomas | 08/18/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is one that gets better with age. My first acquaintance with this record was in 1993 and I wrote it off. The songs were wandering and far more earthy than the previous efforts. Still, songs like "You're So Close" and "Drop the Sweetest Drop" are wonderful to listen to even now in 1999. And "Hit Song" may just be one of Murphy's best--haunting, yet beautiful. However, it is correct to say that this is not a good intro to Peter Murphy. Try "Deep" or "Love Hysteria" if you want his best work as a solo artist. This is one that even Murphy himself did not immediately like. Too much input from the Hundred Men (his band). Still, with time this does grow on you and is as listenable as prior releases. Oh and yes, to the previous reviewer, I too once thought there were vocal similarities to Mr. Neil Diamond. (Could they have been separated at birth?)"