This consolidation of Nick Cave and Co.'s first two releases as The Birthday Party, the Hee-Haw EP and The Birthday Party LP, is a masterpiece of macabre, chilling dirges, with haunting vocals, and the songwriting- the notes- are sheer genius. The burning, profoundly eerie guitar openings and frantic, howled pleas haunt me in my sleep and play over and over again in my head. And I love it. This album displays less of the grimy, blues-rockabilly influence that came to characterize The Birthday Party's later releases, and it also lacks the thrashing feedback. Instead, they utilize tight, anxious guitar riffs and distinctly Arabian-influenced horn solos. It sounds much cleaner and more solemn; to me, it sounds as if they were focusing more on music-writing and instrumentation, and I see this as a good thing. This is, in my opinion, the best of all their releases. If it does not chill you and immerse you in its ubiquitous Edward Gorey-like eerieness, check your pulse. If you find yourself deceased, you might like it even more.