16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Their classic album of 1982,
This review is from: Junkyard (Audio CD)
The Birthday Party progressed from their Boys Next Door roots, through their relocation to London from Australia- and exposure to such bands as The Pop Group & The Fall. Their initial releases were patchy in parts- but their were many classics ('Mr Clarinet'; 'Figure of Fun'; 'The Friend Catcher'; 'Nick the Stripper'). Portent of what to come...
The classic, if pigeonholing single, 'Blast off'/'Release the Bats' bookends this reissue. The former is a Roland S. Howard slab of violent noise- possibly more raucous than The Stooges (forget The Strokes!). 'Release the Bats' might have been an ironic piss-take of The Cramps; the word 'gothic' would now be used in connection with Cave et al (which they sometimes deseerved!). 'She's Hit' is a mellow, cruel opener; Mick Harvey's drums grating like the misogynist lyrics. 'Dead Joe' crashes out of the gloom, co-written with Anita Lane, we are given another car crash classic a la Bowie or The Normal (via JG Ballard). Though Cave's father died in such a way; so this is an important song. The 2nd version is even nastier!(& features Magazine's Barry Adamson- as Tracy Pew was incarcerated). Howard's 'Dim Locator' is great- there is a popsong hidden here; likewise his 'Several Sins'- which is closer to his work with Crime & The City Solution & These Immortal Souls. 'Hamlet' is a re-casting of the vengeful Danish Prince to a Faulkneresque white trash ghetto (very 'And the Ass saw the Angel'). Mick Harvey's switch to drums (replacing Phill Calvert) moves The BP's sound closer to the final e.p.'s. 'Big Jesus Trash Can'predicts later songs such as 'Fears of Gun' & 'Swampland'. The nastiest blues, with the nastiest feedback. The Birthday Party sound like they're on fire...'Kiss Me Black' is a bit duff, more 'A Dead Song' than 'Dead Joe'; while 'Kewpie Doll' is a little cliched (& would be pilfered by Babes in Toyland, Hole etc a few years later). '6" Gold Blade' is one of their best songs, moving towards 'Deep in the Woods' & 'From Her to Eternity'. It piddles over the re-hash of themes that is 'Murder Ballads'...The title track is great, as evil sounding as early Sonic Youth or Swans (though the live take on the recent live album is superior)...A classic album,as good as 'Funhouse'; their best work would come on 'Mutiny'/'The Bad Seed'. And then they were gone...Oh, and Tracy Pew was the best bassist ever.