It's Still Living

The Birthday Party

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It's Still Living Review

by Victor W. Valdivia

As a document of the Birthday Party at the peak of their powers, It's Still Living is impressive. Though the sound is marred by technical glitches (mainly the sounds of the amps crackling and shorting out), the performances are stellar. Frontman Nick Cave sounds possessed, howling against the elements with abandon, while guitarist Rowland Howard spits out shards of jagged guitar. In between songs, he even treats the audience to his typical black humor, explaining that "Release the Bats" is the audience's favorite but the band's least favorite, and introducing "Junkyard" by comparing the venue unfavorably to one. The song selection is fairly comprehensive, pulling tracks from the Party's two full-length albums, Junkyard and Prayers On Fire, as well as the EP Drunk on the Pope's Blood, and if the release seems a tad short, it still contains virtually every essential track the band performed live. The Live 1981-82 collection may have surpassed this set (especially since it is longer and sounds clearer) but this raw recording is still a worthy introduction to the Birthday Party.

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