How much of a travesty is it to admit ignorance of NickCave and his oeuvre in 2013? The little exposure I have to any of his stuff came when I tracked down some of the Birthday Party’s material after Mike Watt told me he dug bass player Tracy Pew’s playing. The songs on this gorgeously packaged double album—re-releases of the band’s last two EPs, as well as two previously unheard vault tracks—are driven by the aforementioned Mr. Pew’s cowboy bass playing over primitive beats, with shrill curtains of guitar descending to punctuate and inflect Nick Cave’s alternately screaming and intoning vox. I can see why people might file the band under gothic, but it’s a bit too unhinged for me to comfortably stash it there (which is a compliment). With all this said, if you’re an acolyte, this is not the place to start in terms of sheer economics: two twelve-inches and a seven inch, hand-numbered and limited to 1,500 copies, run somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty bucks. If you’re a collector nerd, though, by all means.
–Michael T. Fournier (Drastic Plastic)