Recording information: Hansa, Ton-Studios, West Berlin (11/1984-12/1984).
Photographer: Bleddyn Butcher.
After emerging from the unbridled chaos of the Birthday Party, Cave pursued the ominous, bluesy direction hinted at by his erstwhile band's later work. THE FIRSTBORN IS DEAD finds Cave perfecting the punk-blues world he began exploring on FROM HER TO ETERNITY. Combining manic, roots-influenced raving with decadent Brechtian artsong, Cave comes off like the Australian Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Obsessed with the dark edges of Americana, he tackles the Presley myth (also referenced by the album's title) on "Tupelo," delivers an ode to "Blind Lemon Jefferson" and gleefully dismembers Dylan's outlaw ballad "Wanted Man." On the artier side, the cabaretish "The Moon is in the Gutter" displays the lyrical agility that would soon become a Cave trademark.
Alternative Press (7/95, p.86) - Rated #41 in AP's list of the `Top 99 Of '85-'95' - "...along with extensive liner notes and a stark retro album design, this work boasts some of [Nick Cave's] most evocative music and lyrics..."
NME (Magazine) (7/1/95, p.50) - 7 (out of 10) - "...all the gothic blues that endear him to those who seldom smile, but...with what non-Cave devotees refer to as `tunes'..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "THE FIRST BORN IS DEAD feels like less of a genre exercise and more a distillation of the philosophy Cave would pursue for years to come.."