Record Review: Shriekback – Lined Up

Warner Brothers Records | US 12″ | 1983 | 9 29654-0 A

Shriekback: Lined Up US 12″ [1983]

  1. Lined Up [disco mix]
  2. Lined Up [instruMENTAL mix]
  3. Hapax Legomna

This single was my entrée into Shriekback fandom, courtesy of a tape letter from my friend Charles, who was living near Atlanta at the time. I think I had read about Shriekback in the pages of Trouser Press, but had not yet heard evidence. Given that the band was a Post-Punk “supergroup” formed from Barry Andrews [ex-XTC, League Of Gentlemen] and Dave Allen [ex-Gang Of Four], along with Carl Marsh, fans of their former groups would have been wise to investigate. While the band’s sound was nothing like the early, twitchy New Wave proffered by XTC [at least at this point] those who were familiar with Robert Fripp’s New Wave dance combo, League Of Gentlemen, would at least have an inkling as to where this would lead to. Me? After hearing this, I wasted no time in obtaining this fine single as well as the album from whence it came for my Record Cell.

“Lined Up” appears on this single in an extended “disco” mix that was simply longer with more space for its sinuous groove to develop and cast its seething spell. Adamson leans toward minimal keyboard drones here [as on the album it also came from] and the song is propelled by Allen’s massive bass lines that swoop beneath the surface of the song like schools of vast gray whales. The end result is like the best song left off of “Fear Of Music” you’ve never heard.

Like the A-side, the dub B-side mix is by Dick O’Dell [a.k.a. Disc O’Dell], the owner of the band’s label, Y Records. The resulting chillout funk gains a net reduction in pressure minus the vocals, which were mixed to avoid midrange frequencies entirely. Both mixes of “Lined Up” are more brief than the listener may care for at roughly 5:10 each. Enterprising listeners could drop both tracks into a DAW environment and give this entrancing number some room to move.

The [US] non-LP B-side “Hapax Legomena” features “Carlo” on vocals, but he’s not singing in English. The twitchy, enervated number sounds like someone coming off of a drug high and not exactly landing on their feet. Strangely enough, the latter number is not on the US pressing of the “Care” album, making the song a B-side domestically. However, the original UK/Oz pressings of the album contain “Hapax Legomena” on side A, making it’s appearance on “Lined Up” redundant on the UK version of this single, which contains the exact same tracks as this WB copy.

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About postpunkmonk

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4 Responses to Record Review: Shriekback – Lined Up

  1. Echorich says:

    You got it right about Lined Up sounding like it belonged on Fear of Music! I hung on for the first three albums with Shriekback but by Oil and Gold I was done and Big Night Music was kind of a yawn. I have Naked Apes and Pond Life and Having a Moment – the latter being basically a reunion which have some interesting moments, but Lined Up and Care are really wonderful records.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I am a total slave to Shriekback, with the exception of “Go Bang.” I thought that “Sacred City” was a bit of a throwback to the “Care” sound. I liked the fact that “Naked Apes + Pond Life” was acoustic Shriekback. Unfortunately, I need everything after that album. I never see thir releases any more[I could say that for so many artists…].


  2. I discovered Shriekback through 12 ” Disc O’Dell remix ’83 release . I still wonder how it managed to ship to my little Burgundy town…
    The funny thing is I fell into Shriekback playing this record at the wrong speed (45 instead of 33rpm), which didn’t disturb me at that time.

    My Shriekback all time favorite remains the Arista version of Jam Science . I still buy the occasional new release, but only in the name of nostalgia.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Ralph Machmot – That is a fantastic record! After the US 12″ of “Lined Up” and “Care” this was my third Shriekback record. As for playing it at the wrong speed, with Shriekback, that is something that I can see working both ways.


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