Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Luke formed numerous bands when he was at school, (the most famous of which was The Servants) but it was only when he formed The Auteurs with his girlfriend Alice Readman (who had also been in The Servants) and Glenn Collins in 1990 that he began to achieve some success.
Regular gigging in the London area and an NME sponsored gig brought them to the attention of Hut Records. The released their first single, Showgirl in January 1992, and their debut album New Wave a month later. Haines was later to claim that this was the album that started Britpop. Certainly it was ahead of its time in turning back from the acid house then popular to more traditional songwriting in the vein of The Kinks or The Small Faces. It is arguable that more commercially successful bands (such as Suede) owed much to Haines' vision. In any case, the album did well commercially (for a first album) and was nominated for a Mercury Prize.
The band toured the UK and the USA, gaining generally good reviews: however it is generally agreed that the band were always better in the studio than live.
Their second album, Now I'm a Cowboy (1994) featured Lenny Valentino one of their most famous songs. By now the band were touring Europe and the States regularly, and were gaining a reputation as one of the best new British bands.
However, just as the band looked like 'breaking through' to the mainstream (as similar bands, such as Oasis and Blur were then doing), under pressure of constant touring, Haines had a nervous breakdown, jumping from a second story hotel room window in order, he claimed, to 'get the insurance'. In a wheel chair for most of 1995, Haines wrote the very different songs that would end up becoming the Auteurs' third album, After Murder Park. Far bleaker and more introspective than previous Auteurs albums, this was just as English as his previous work but now showed very different influences: the downbeat folk of Richard Thompson, the aggression of My Bloody Valentine, the experimentalism of Wire, and the caustic lyrics of The Fall. It benefitted from spare production by Steve Albini. Recorded, ironically enough, at Abbey Road studies at the height of Britpop, this was the ultimate anti-Britpop album. It has, therefore, stood the test of time far better than many other albums that were far more fashionable at the time.
At this point, Haines created a side prject Baader-Meinhof who recorded one eponymous album. This explored themes relating to the Baader Meinhof Gang with a muted jazz-funk musical backing: German terrorism of the 1970s was to remain one of Haines' lyrical obsessions.
After this, Haines disbanded the Auteurs, only to bring them back together again for their fourth album How I Learned to Love the Boot Boys. This sounds like an amalgamation of Haines' previous styles: it is electronic, but has the same concern for pop hooks as his first two albums: on the other hand, the lyrics are brooding and obsessive, in a similar way to those on After Murder Park. From this point on, The Auteurs become merely a name for whatever musicians Haines chooses to bring together for specific projects.
After this album, with John Moore (ex of The Jesus and Mary Chain) and Sarah Nixey, Haines created another side project: Black Box Recorder. With a sound clearly influenced by trip-hop and the ambient sound of French bands such as Air, the band produced three commercially successful albums, England Made Me, The Facts of Life, and Passionoia. There is also a 'best of' album, The Worst of Black Box Recorder. The Facts of Life produced the eponymous single, which has been the biggest hit of Haines' career so far.
Lately Haines has branched into film music, writing the music for Christie Malry's Own Double Entry, a British film based on the novel by B.S. Johnson.
He has also produced a number of solo albums under his own name, including The Oliver Twist Manifesto. However, perhaps realising that he will always be best known as the creative force behind the Auteurs, Haines continues to reform them and remake their songs in a variety of ways. The Auteurs Best of album Das Capital (sic) consisted of Auteurs songs reworked by a classical orchestra in a typically eccentric fashion.
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