Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Auteurs were a vehicle for the songwriting talents of Luke Haines (guitar, piano and vocals). Formerly of the band "The Servants" (who had featured on the seminal compilation C86), Haines later created the Auteurs with his then girlfriend Alice Steadman (bass) and James Banbury (cello). Their first single Showgirl was praised by Melody Maker, and ensured the band a record deal with Hut. The following album, New Wave (1993) demonstrated Haines' acidic lyrical style offset by highly tuneful melodies such as Early Years, Idiot Brother and Bailed Out. This album was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize and saw The Auteurs associated with the emerging Britpop genre.
However this assocition never sat well with Haines who frequently made derogatory remarks about his peers. After New Wave, the band remained on the fringes of the music scene. The critically acclaimed album Now I'm a Cowboyin 1994 built on the themes of New Wave and contained what remains probably Haines' best-known song, "Lenny Valentino".
In 1996 The Auteurs released what their fans generally consider to be Haines' best work to date, After Murder Park. Songs such as "Land Lovers", "Unsolved Child Murder", and "Buddha" marked a high point in Haines' lyrical output, while the accessible music was tempered by the distinctive production techniques of Steve Albini. Haines then went on to release a solo project about the Baader Meinhof terrorist organisation that same year, although the sound was not a million miles away from The Auteurs (but with a rather peculiar funk influence). The last Auteurs record How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, in 1999, moved towards the more electronic sound that his solo releases have featured heavily, which upset some fans of the earlier material.
Haines also worked as one third of the art-pop band Black Box Recorder, and in 2001 released the soundtrack album to the film Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry rapidly followed by his first solo album proper, The Oliver Twist Manifesto. 2003 saw him release "Das Capital", a collection of re-recorded Auteurs era songs, with a couple of new tracks, apparently intended as closure for that band. He is considered a cantankerous, but quotable figure by the English music press, and his musical projects continue to gather critical approval, if rather less commercial success. Haines himself has asserted that his music will only be truly appreciated by later generations - possibly in the same way as The Velvet Underground achieved greater popularity after they had already split up.
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