JUNKYARD (LIVE) by THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
The Birthday Party (originally known as The Boys Next Door) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983. Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party’s influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called “one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early ’80s.” The group’s “bleak and noisy soundscapes,” which irreverently appropriated elements of blues, free jazz, and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave‘s disturbing tales of violence and perversion. Their music has been described by critic Simon Reynolds as gothic, and their single “Release the Bats” was particularly influential on the emerging gothic scene.
In 1980, The Birthday Party moved from Melbourne to London, where they were championed by broadcaster John Peel. Disillusioned by their stay in London, the band’s sound and live shows became increasingly violent. They broke up soon after relocating to West Berlin in 1983. The creative core of The Birthday Party – singer and songwriter Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mick Harvey, and singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowland S. Howard – later went on to acclaimed careers.
Junkyard was inspired by American Southern Gothic imagery, dealing with extreme subjects like an evangelist’s murdered daughter. Nick Cave’s then-girlfriend Anita Lane co-wrote with him on two songs, “Dead Joe” and “Kiss me Black.”
The album was a somewhat transitional record for a variety of reasons. On 16 February 1982 in Melbourne, Tracy Pew (the band’s bass player) was arrested for drunk driving. For this and several other outstanding offences he served 2.5 months in Pentridge Prison in Australia, and so Barry Adamson was drafted in on bass duties for several tracks.
The cover art is by Ed Roth and Dave Christensen.