19 January 2006

the birthday party - "the friend catcher" (from the hee-haw lp, available for purchase here.)

the birthday party is, as nick cave sings on "the friend catcher," a prison of sound. contrary to what one might have seen on the hit fox show jailbreak, prison proved incredibly difficult to get into--indeed, in terms of accessibility, the party made the bad seeds seem like the queue for donating blood by comparison.

nick, as you and harold pinter know, is a literary guy, but he rarely lets it get in the way of the music (though, hands up, who remembers "a wicked wind whipped up the hill," from "love letter"?) the lyrics to "the friend catcher" are already fractured when they were recorded but, put through the sluice of rowland howard's guitar, they're just barely recognizable through the magnificent din, though one does hear nick holler the words "HEE HAW" and "CHOO CHOO" a lot, which is almost enough on its own to merit the position as my favorite birthday party track. it's the performance of the band, though, that puts it over; drums, bass, and guitar are all on the one, releasing a riff that is as alarming and foreboding as a siren.

a prison of sound, yes, but like the best prisons, it's difficult to escape once they've sucked you in.


Alexander said...

and here it comes together. great writing relying on that old and always stunning stylistic device, the paradox and a phantastic shattering song from (the) cave. thanks you.

Alexander said...

i meant rhetorical device, obviously.