NME - February 12, 1983
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY - The Bad Seed (4AD)
The Birthday Party have always seemed more an exercise in exhausting self-parody than the gothic Beefheart claimed by their rabid supporters. They may have come to bury rock'n'roll, but the trouble is they keep digging the grave over and over again.
And after listening to this four-song EP, it seems that it won't be long before Nick Cave and his performing troupe of deviants fail into their purpose-built tomb.
It's impossible to avoid the obvious when you're talking about The Birthday Party simply because they are so ludicrously larger than life: sex, smack and death are all over into this unctuous assault
The playing sounds tired and overwrought ought any tension lost in a barrage of cliches. The rusty stabs of bass, drums and guitar are used more as a means of colouring Cave's schlock accounts of love gone awry than as a force in their own right which places the emphasis on lyrics that are no longer disturbing or genuinely dark
'Deep In The Woods' is a swing love song tor psychotic misogynists - "Tonight we sleep in separate ditches", croons Cave. 'Sonny's Burning' is a black account of energy-saving. 'Fears Of Gun' boasts a chorus that runs 'Fingers down the throat of love" and 'Wild World' is a plea for protection and little more.
This is a flight into miserable fantasy, a diversion that offers hardly any insights into the sometimes poignant state of the truly wretched.
The Birthday Party pretend to be crucified for the consequences of irrepressible extremes. Yet, like most of their supposed obsessions, this record is another plaything. They've probably forgotten it already and if you ve any sense you'll do the same.
- Ian Pye