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Editors’ Notes

The second and final studio album from Australia’s Birthday Party remains one of post-punk’s most enduring collections. Released in 1982 to a small, rabid cult, it’s become a touchstone for musicians and fans the world over. While singer Nick Cave channeled the mania of a religious conversion party and the shudder of an ancient blues holler with his graphic, cut-‘n’-paste lyric snippets and untutored howl, the band found a revolutionary groove. At times only Tracy Pew’s rock-solid bass lines hold things together. Elsewhere, the band caterwauls into chaos. Drummer Phil Calvert vacillates between hypnotic tribal rhythms and disruptive Captain Beefheartian jabs that deliberately upset the balances. Guitarists Rowland S. Howard and Mick Harvey veer from squeaky atonal blasts to rumbling, mutated rockabilly-surf riffs. The sneaky, spy-movie stalk of “Several Sins”, the boom-crash wreckage of “Big-Jesus-Trash-Can”, the lurching desperation of “She’s Hit", and the relentless pummel of “Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)” combine for some of the era’s most physically punishing music.

Customer Reviews

Scary gothic playing crossed with creepy bar and club tunes

This is a rare record in that it will never, ever lose its darkness. Nick Cave's solo career is also formidable, but I would recommend that you begin here... AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!!!

Before Nick Cave became respectable

Sprawling, snarling b**tard son of blues & original rock'n'roll: the BP at their best never sounded quite like anyone else. A truly great album, with plenty of youthful attitude. The bonus track Release The Bats is a very welcome addition: this almost counts as a "best of" album.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

The Birthday Party were one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s, creating bleak and noisy soundscapes that provided the perfect setting for vocalist Nick Cave's difficult, disturbing stories of religion, violence, and perversity. Under the direction of Cave and guitarist Rowland S. Howard, the band tore through reams of blues and rockabilly licks, spitting out hellacious feedback and noise at an unrelenting...
Full bio