The Birthday Party • JunkYard • Vinyl + CD

Format : 180 gm 12” Vinyl + bonus 7” vinyl + CD
Release date : 27 August 2012
Label : 4AD / Archive
Catalogue no.: CAD 3223

The Party’s second and final full studio album was perhaps its scuzzy masterpiece, its art / psych / blues / punk fusion taken to at times outrageous heights. Ned

4AD / Archive are re-issuing JunkYard in a special, heavyweight vinyl edition in Europe. Apart from the 12” LP, the package also contains a bonus 7” of the single Release The Bats and Blast Off. Additionally it includes a CD of all 12 tracks, so that fans can also access the music digitally. The album has been mastered from the Henry Rollins 2000 re-master, previously unavailable in Europe (see Mick Harvey’s comments below) while the single is a new, 2012 master taken from the original studio analogue tapes. This edition is not available in Australasia or the USA.

Blazing hard and blindingly bright, The Birthday Party were a magnesium strip of rock & roll intensity destined to burn out rather than hang around for the long haul and in Junkyard the band achieved its high watermark as a quintet.

Released in May 1982, Junkyard’s uncompromising contents signalled both the oncoming demise of the band responsible for them and rock & roll’s logical conclusion. Harnessing the power of The Stooges’ Funhouse with the limitless possibilities offered by Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, The Birthday Party were a product of the uncertain times that created them – the unwitting soundtrack to a time of death, darkness and decay.

Erroneously tagged as “goth”, The Birthday Party nonetheless owed a debt to the gothic Americana of a mythical Deep South steeped in sin, revenge and retribution. Troubled music for a troubled age, Nick Cave’s world was created in a white-hot blast of visceral energy, gut-wrenching violence and Dadaist stupidity while the work of his band mates fleshed out the vision to devastating effect. Here, blasphemous imagery fraternised with scenes of murder, brutality and sadism as it rolled and revelled in a trash aesthetic that belied the intellect behind it. The noise created by the band was at once familiar – a wild mutation of rock’s primordial slime mixed with a nightmarish interpretation of Elmer Bernstein and a skewed vision of the blues spewed out rather than played – yet startlingly new and all underlined by an inevitable finality.

With the passing of 30 years, Junkyard still sounds as if it’s waiting for rock music to catch up with it. Throwing down a taunting gauntlet to subsequent generations of musicians, this feral collection of songs simultaneously closes a door on something that can’t be repeated or improved upon. The distance of time has failed to reduce its sonic power and revisiting Junkyard three decades after its birth is to rediscover an album more melodic if no less manic as was initially perceived.
Julian Marszalek, The Quietus – 30 April 2012

Mick Harvey (The Birthday Party) interviewed for THE QUIETUS
I think it’s a great record, really. We did some weird things with the way we put it together and mastered it: we put the songs really close together so there were hardly any gaps; we put loads of treble on it and that crazy cover which I’ve never really liked. I’m sure it’s a great cover but I’m not sure it represents the album all that well. But the actual contents of the album are really amazing and they’re a very special set of recordings and that’s what really stands up; most people don’t look at the cover these days, they just play the music. Henry Rollins did a re-master of it and made the songs have longer gaps between them. There are re-mastered versions of it here in Australia that make it sound a bit more normal and probably more powerful and less of that messing with people’s heads. In the end it’s down to the songs and it’s pretty strong material.

She’s Hit
Dead Joe
The Dim Locator
Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)
Several Sins

Kiss Me Black
6” Gold Blade
Kewpie Doll

Bonus 7”
Release The Bats
Blast Off


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