Boys Next Door

Door, Door

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If one compares Door, Door to later albums made by these soon-to-be-infamous Aussies -- albums released under the Birthday Party moniker -- it sounds fairly tame and relatively straightforward. But that's not to say there's anything wrong with it. In fact, it's a frantic, edgy, and surprisingly catchy piece of post-punk mayhem; just don't expect anything as original or downright disturbing as "Big-Jesus-Trash-Can" or "Zoo-Music Girl." The album starts out in high gear with "The Nightwatchman," replete with ringing guitar figures, a boppy punk-pop chorus (yes, those are "ooh-ooh-ooh-oohs" you're hearing), and dirty sax lines. Sax pops up on "Brave Exhibitions" as well, providing a meaty partner to the lead guitar on circular, descending scales that bring some weirdness to a straight-up rocker. Things begin to get slightly more strange and troubled as the record plays on: "The Voice" and "Somebody's Watching" are filled with a paranoid mania and creepy, memorable musical phrases that make them two of Door, Door's highlights. (The lead guitar parts in the latter song make it seem as if Rowland Howard spent time listening to Television at the wrong speed.) And "Roman Roman" is a frenzied schoolyard chant that hints at some of the anarchic pandemonium the group could create on-stage. It's impressive how, even at this early stage, Nick Cave was a confident and unique singer, perfectly aware of the strengths and limitations of his voice; although he's not much for range, he knows how to come across in a scary and theatrical manner that perfectly complements the music. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the band's closing, mournful ballad, "Shivers," an unashamedly melodramatic example of post-adolescent anguish.

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