Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
From Her To Eternity



by lz41 USER (50 Reviews)
September 25th, 2017 | 4 replies

Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

The Birthday Party were a polarising lot.
Over their tempestuous five-year existence, the Melbourne goth-rock band’s predilections for savage soundscapes and relentlessly madcap performance earned plenty of notoriety but allowed no fence-sitting. Optimists regarded them as a highly innovative and influential novelty act while pessimist had a fair case to argue that they were one of the worst bands ever.

Such was the dilemma facing Nick Cave when the frontman scraped himself out of the Party’s wreckage to form the Bad Seeds in 1983. Featuring fellow Party refugee Mick Harvey as well as Barry Adamson, Anita Lane, Hugo Race and Blixa Bargeld, the Bad Seeds’ debut album From Her to Eternity was recorded across a laboured six-month stretch between September 1983 and March 1984.

Among the first tracks completed was the album’s closer, the funeral dirge ‘A Box for Black Paul’ in which Cave solemnly lays the Birthday Party to rest, lauding its distinctive powers and decrying their “critics and the hacks” in the British music press. However, on From Her to Eternity it seemed that Cave was admitting that the detractors were kinda right. On a fairly slapdash project, the high points favour atmosphere over dissonance and focus over shock value. The Leonard Cohen cover ‘Avalanche’ shows the ominous power in silence and Cave’s malevolent whisper while the Mark Twain perversion ‘Saint Huck’ hitches itself to a militaristic Bargeld jig with more discipline than anything of Party renown. However, it’s on the title track that the Bad Seeds’ future is mapped out. A single-chord jam topped off by Cave’s jump-scare piano, ‘From Her to Eternity’ explores voyeurism, psychosis and sexual obsession as its narrator’s fantasy about the girl living in the apartment above him mounts into something else. Relying on a relentless throb over the Birthday Party’s car-crash caterwaul, ‘From Her to Eternity’ births the unique power the Bad Seeds have held ever since: the dark force of metal with an ease that takes us by surprise, the spirit of the early bluesmen but older, somehow: the fear and fury of Renaissance dogma and Salem witch hunts live on in the Bad Seeds’ 1980s output.

And the rest? Well, signposts of what Cave was leaving behind. ‘Cabin Fever’ is an off-putting racket, ‘Well of Misery’ a heavy-handed blues parody and ‘Wings Off Flies’ an uninspired chain-gang chant. And I won’t pretend ‘A Box for Black Paul’ is perfect; indeed, its status as the Bad Seeds’ best piano-driven song only lasted until ‘Knockin’ On Joe’ on their far superior sophomore 1985 The Firstborn is Dead.

Which is From Her to Eternity in a nutshell. It’s not the Bad Seeds’ worst album of the first phase of their career *coughKickingAgainstthePrickscough* but its only distinction is that it is the first. It isn’t as musically assured as The Firstborn is Dead, as scary as Your Funeral… My Trial (1986) and it doesn’t have the cohesive strength of Tender Prey (1988). From Her to Eternity set a course and made it clear that the Birthday Party were in the rear-view mirror. From now on, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds let their music do the talking.

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user ratings (408)

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 25th 2017


Album Rating: 4.5

'It’s not the Bad Seeds’ worst album of the first phase of their career *coughKickingAgainstthePrickscough*

how dare you

September 25th 2017


Yeah, the t/t is definitely the best on here as I recall - mightily uncomfy.
Well-written fella, take a pos :]

September 25th 2017


Album Rating: 3.0

nice review.. have a pos.. have you listened to the one album cave put out with the Boys Next Door?

September 25th 2017


Album Rating: 4.5


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