[sic] Magazine

David J – Etiquette Of Violence, Expanded Reissue

David J Haskins is probably best known for playing bass in legendary Goth band Bauhaus as well as going on to form Love and Rockets with his brother Kevin (also from Bauhaus). Most music fans will be aware of Bauhaus of course but fewer will know that David J contributed the lyrics to ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ and sang on many other Bauhaus songs. It may come as something of surprise though that David J devised this solo album back in 1983. Etiquette of Violence was something of a departure in style and sound. Bauhaus fans would have been seduced, certainly, but Etiquette of Violence has a wider palette. It should have had wider appeal.

Art pop, acoustic, psyche-rock, noir…. all these things come to mind when listening to Etiquette of Violence. I’d wager the early (vocal) albums of Brian Eno were an influence on the young Mr Haskins. Maybe some of the Wire stuff too? The closest contemporary I can think of is Matt Johnson (The The). Etiquette… doesn’t really share the commercial pull of, say, Soul Mining, but it does touch upon the urban hopelessness of Infected whilst leaning sonically closer to Burning Blue Soul. Check out ‘Roulette’ with its eerie, Lynchian saxophone. It could easily have been lifted from Infected. These records are good company to keep but Etiquette… more than holds its own. One could even say, Etiquette… anticipated aspects of Britpop.

The entire career of Luke Haines owes a debt to David J!

Probably not. Maybe Etiquette made no impact on anybody at all? This needs to be rectified, hence another generous Cherry Red reissue with obligatory expansion disc. Originally released on Situation Two, Etiquette of Violence has been out of print on CD since 1990. The main album (disc one) is a mixed bag of whacked-out pop (‘Say Uncle’), experimental art-installations (‘With The Indians Permanent’) and various points inbetween. I really like it but I cannot recommend it to everyone wholeheartedly because it just won’t resonate with the masses. This is niche stuff, a seedy, nicotine-stained soundtrack for the early hours. I only hope it can find as much of its intended target audience as possible.

Disc two has some outtakes and home recordings. Honestly, if the main album doesn’t grab you, you won’t be too bothered by this stuff. Much of it continues the dark twisted urban nightmarescape that only parts of the main record hinted at. If anything it is even more lo-fi and menacing than Etiquette…. Fans only, most probably.