The Birthday Party (originally known as The Boys Next Door) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983.
In 1980, The Birthday Party moved from Melbourne to London, where they were championed by broadcaster John Peel. Disillusioned by their stay in London, the band's sound and live shows became increasingly violent. They broke up soon after relocating to West Berlin in 1983. Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party's influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called one of "the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s." Their music was classified by critic Simon Reynolds as gothic rock. In his lyrics, Nick Cave frequently used Old Testament imagery, combining "sacred and profane" themes. Their 1981 single "Release the Bats" was particularly influential on the emerging gothic scene.
The creative core of The Birthday Party – singer and songwriter Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mick Harvey, and singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowland S. Howard – later went on to acclaimed careers.