Recently, I was musing over the lack of several Shriekback recordings in the Record Cell. I stayed fairly current to the point of getting the last album that I did; an excellent twofer CD of “Aberrations ’81-’84” with “Naked Apes And Pond Life.” The former was a 2001 issue of unreleased material from Phase one of the band and the latter was their latest studio album from 1999. “Aberrations” was a pleasing array of live/alternate versions and unreleased material. Any fan of “Care” and “Jamscience” would find much to love there. “Naked Apes And Pond Life” was Shriekback under a startling acoustic blues guise that showed that their artistic point of view was capable of withstanding almost any stylistic filter… save for perhaps the naive stab at commerciality that resulted in “Go Bang,” the single inclusive run Shriekback album that I sent off into the sunset many years ago.
I recently asked my friend and fellow Shriek-fan JT, how the several releases that came after “Naked Apes” stood up to scrutiny, since I had never seen the releases and would have to resort to mail order if I ever wanted them. He proclaimed, that they were full of Shriekback music that was admirable, but could have been better had they “road tested” the material, and applied themselves a bit more. I thought to myself, in other words, if they were funded by a major label, they might have been better. Still, the track he let me hear was excellent. Carl Marsh had recently returned to the fold following his leaving after the seminal “Oil + Gold,” and at first I didn’t recognize the song as Shriekback due to Barry Andrews not singing as he had for the last 25 years or so! On the second listen it was indelibly Shriekback. I have the following releases on my want list:
- Having A Moment 
- Cormorant 
- Glory Bumps 
- Life In The Loading Bay 
As one can see, the Shrieks had not sat idle while I had not seen their recordings for sale [or had much money to get them in any case].
Shriekback: Jamscience UK LP 
- Hand On My Heart
- Midnight Maps
- Mercy Dash
- Under The Lights
- My Careful Hands
Word filters out now from Shriek-Central that the band are contemplating reissuing the “Jamscience” album from 1984 on CD for the first time. This is a plus, since the tracks from it that have reached the spinning, silver platter were a willy-nilly mixtures of remixes and loose tracks to be found on the following releases:
I have the first two, but the third, almost conclusive 2xCD package as released in 2001 was at a time when buying was not an option. In any case, the “Jamscience” album is ripped and strewn throughout these four CDs like so many dandelion seeds, scattered to the four winds. Hardly a coherent way to enjoy an album, Monk style!
The band have proposed this to the world at this website, to gauge interest in the investment to have this album finally rejoin society in the manner intended 30 years ago. Better still, the band have proposed pairing it up with a CD-R they issued directly in 2002 that, again, completely passed me by for very practical reasons at the time.
Shriekback: Live. Hatfield Polytechnic. 1985 UK CD-R 
- New Home
- Big Sharp Teeth
- Hand On My Heart
- A Kind Of Fascination
- Health & Knowledge & Wealth & Power
- White Out
- My Spine (Is The Bassline)
- Mercy Dash
A few of these hot tracks surfaced as B-sides to the 2×12″ for “Nemesis” and on the Island Records era compilation “The Dancing Years.” Mating them with “Jamscience” makes a kind of sense, and I’m all for getting this album on a real CD, instead of a fragile CD-R. So if you also have an interest, why not sign the petition and let the band know about it. Most of Shriekback’s early career bypassed a coherent CD re-issue program and their profile probably suffered for it. Not with me, though.
Next: More in the queue…