Friday, February 29, 2008

The Birthday Party "Junkyard" (Buddha, 1982)

Artist: The Birthday Party
Album: "Junkyard"
Release Date: 1982
Label: Buddha
Genre: Post-Punk, No-Wave, Goth-Rock, Noise-Rock
Mood: Uncompromising, Hedonistic, Fiery, Unsettling
Reminds Of: Lydia Lunch, The Psychedelic Furs, The Stooges, Magazine
What People Think: AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon, CdUniverse

1. Blast Off!
2. She's Hit
3. Dead Joe
4. The Dim Locator
5. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)
6. Several Sins
7. Big Jesus Trash Can
8. Kiss Me Black
9. 6'' Gold Blade
10. Kewpie Doll
11. Junkyard
12. Dead Joe (2nd Version)
13. Release The Bats

The Birthday Party reached their peak with Junkyard. It soars on a pulsing energy that never fades. It is goth rock. Punk. Frightening rockabilly. Angular funk. Gospel and blues. Demonized cabaret lounge jazz. These and other styles collide in a gruesome, purposeless, and—above all—glorious spectacle. But the darkness in which this music dwells is entirely stable. It is confident at least. The album is mixed to emphasize the low end and the high end, with little mid-range. There are no compromises. The Thatcher-Reagan era has, in many ways, turned out to be the beginning of the end (or at least another milestone in the world's continued march towards an easily avoidable doom). Junkyard plays like The Birthday Party intuitively knew this. The slow groove of “She's Hit” reveals from the beginning that this group was more aware than most. They absorbed the maddening energy of the times, without becoming bound to them. Unlike the living dead of the world, who are modeled on an image of the past, The Birthday Party were in a state of regenerative flux, continually rebuilding decaying happiness. “Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)” is a sleazy literary come-on, and Nick Cave sings, “Where for art thou baby-face.” Still, the words come out more like a warning to a future victim issued too late. And yet, The Birthday Party can be trusted. Despite rubbing down and rubbing out simple hopes and pleasant dreams, the band's resolve is never spent. If something on this album doesn't arouse some in you, then might already be spiritually bankrupt. But at least you will wonder what you are made of. Barry Adamson guests on “Kiss Me Black” (filling in for the jailed Tracy Pew). His bass blasts to the forefront immediately with mangled tones that bend enough to engross listeners as much as whole songs or albums often do. Matched with Cave belting out, “Hey hey hey hey,” the song reveals no intention of relenting. The song is a small representation of all the band was. Easily the most important band to ever emerge from Australia, The Birthday Party later disbanded after recording a few EPs but no other full-length albums. While there is a saying about wicks that burn brightest burning the shortest, that quip doesn't quite capture what The Birthday Party were about. They were a black hole that sucked life and the universe into a seeming nothingness. What that leaves us with is anyone's guess. In a black hole, no known laws of nature apply.

(source:, user: azuege)

Incredible heat, amphetamine madness....


myrkursoli said...

copy the link into your web browser

Death Of The Left Unfinished

The Kitchen Cynic said...

Thanks for this. Onee thing re. the rateyourmusic blurb "The Birthday Party later disbanded after recording a few EPs but no other full-length albums..."

After this one, yes? Because they certainly produced a couple of full length LP's before it. The self titled LP and Prayers on Fire.

myrkursoli said...

Thanx for the comment, kitchen cynic,...
According to AllMusicGuide, the Birthday Party disbanded in 1983.The last full album they released was "Junkyard"...The previous ones was "The Birthday Party" (Missing Link, 1980) and "Prayers On Fire" (Buddha, 1981)...Later, five or more EPs were released and a full-length live album...
Stay tuned, man...

Death Of The Left Unfinished