Puncture #6 - Winter 1983/84


The Birthday Party sings the blues. Not exactly an Australian tradition, nonetheless, The Birthday Party wish they were Jim Morrison and living in 18th Century New Orleans. Swamps, death, and girls, played like the Cramps with warped guitars and strange ideas. If they weren't so chilling, they would be amusing. A new Birthday Party release is always a big surprise and relief that they hadn't yet committed suicide or been institutionalized.

The lyric sheet of Mutiny! is scrawled in a pidgeony English that shows little care of knowledge of the language and includes the screams; like symptoms of madness preceding death or murder. The animal regression that accompanies sin and eternal condemnation to Hell. What better style than the blues to express and exaggerate the desperation and regret of unretractable finality? What better setting than horror-movie swamps and the gothic melancholy romance of ships and veils?

"Mutiny In Heaven" is a frantic collage of rats, needles, trash, slums and broken wings, making a nightmare out of Paradise -- "If this is heaven ah'm bailin out!"

"Swampland" should be the theme song to one of those deep south escaped convict movies, with dogs strainin' on the chain, Bounty hunters, and "quixanne". All for the love of a girl!

"Jennifer's Veil" is a dark, mysterious, dirgey thing and "Say A Spell" an unexpectedly light dancehall ditty that actually comes close to being romantic and pretty.

The best thing about The Birthday Party is that all of Nick Cave's yowling and bizarre obsessions seem straight from the heart. It's strange how madness can be endearing, but, as in all things, only if it's sincere.

- Pstirl