7 of 10 thought this review was well written
The Birthday Party were an Australian post-punk band that pioneered an incredibly pissed off, headache inducing conglomeration of punk, noise and blues. Known by many for being Nick Cave’s pre-Bad Seeds band, they’re often recognized as a key progenitor of gothic rock, and while they did influence many bands in that realm, the reality is that The Birthday Party’s own music was far harsher and dissonant than that term would indicate. Starting out as a fairly tame, uninteresting act called The Boys Next Door, they eventually freed themselves of the shackles of record company pressure and manipulation, changing their name and creating a sound that practically defines the notion of “acquired taste”. Their 1983 album Junk Yard
captured the band in prime, hellraising form.
If Cave’s approach on the early Bad Seed’s records brings to mind images of an Old Testament quoting doomsayer, he sounds completely unhinged and violent here, delivering an intense, threatening performance full of screams, growls and unconcealed malice while snarling vicious one-liners such as “I stuck a six inch gold blade into the head of a girl”. The rest of the band also excels, battering the listener into submission with a dense, rumbling assault that rarely lets up, from noisy, demented bebop “Blast Off”, to the stinging guitar and jazz swing of “Big Jesus Trash Can”, both of which kick up a flurry of noise and strangely danceable melodies. An aptly titled record, Junk Yard
teems with sonic debris; jagged, bluesy guitar, psychotic vocals and an overwhelming percussive onslaught all combine to give the music its heavy feel. The Birthday Party’s wide ranging influence on later groups is also clearly discernible on tracks like "Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)”, a creepy slow burner that could've fit on one of the Jesus Lizard’s early 1990s albums.
is a fairly difficult album made all the more uninviting by the murky, low end production which may alone be enough to deter some from giving this a proper chance. Those who persist will be rewarded with one of the most abrasive, nightmarish albums of the 1980s.