hee haw compiles the birthday party's work between 1979's door door album (released under the band name the boys next door) and their first "proper" album, 1981's prayers on fire. the earliest tracks were recorded in 1979 and are full of bizarre time signatures, weird herky-jerky rhythms, and obscure lyrics. by the time 1980 rolled around with the "mr. clarinet" single, things were much more focused—the band retained all of those earlier elements, but managed to put them together into a more controlled, but no less explosive, package. later that year, the "friend catcher" single further honed this approach—tracy pew's thick, serpentine bass playing, rowland howard's alternately discordant and razor sharp guitars, and phil calvert's hammering drums. over it all, nick cave's harrowing vocals delivered the obscure and intensely weird lyrics. standouts from this collection include the above-mentioned "mr. clarinet", a crunching track with some wicked organ riffs courtesy of mick harvey (the band's designated multi-instrumentalist) and "waving my arms", a hyperactive pop song with gang vocals, a sonically clear guitar riff, and the occasional horn blast. it's also worth mentioning that this was probably the band's last straightforward song.
- Genre New Wave & Post Punk