Shriekback Consider Mining Past Glories [part 1]

Primordial Shriekback - Barry Andrews still had hair...

Primordial Shriekback – Barry Andrews still had hair…

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 [2003]
  • Cormorant [2005]
  • Glory Bumps [2007]
  • Life In The Loading Bay [2010]

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].

Arista | UK | LP | 1984 | 206 416

Arista | UK | LP | 1984 | 206 416

Shriekback: Jamscience UK LP [1984]

  1. Hand On My Heart
  2. Newhome
  3. Achtung
  4. Partyline
  5. Midnight Maps
  6. Mercy Dash
  7. Under The Lights
  8. My Careful Hands
  9. Suck
  10. Hubris

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:

shriekback theinfiniteUKCDAshriekback evolutionUKCDAshriekback theyrecordsyearsUK2xCDA

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 | UK | CD-R | 2002

Shriekback | UK | CD-R | 2002

Shriekback: Live. Hatfield Polytechnic. 1985 UK CD-R [2002]

  1. New Home
  2. Mothloop
  3. Big Sharp Teeth
  4. Hand On My Heart
  5. A Kind Of Fascination
  6. Health & Knowledge & Wealth & Power
  7. Feelers
  8. White Out
  9. Suck
  10. My Spine (Is The Bassline)
  11. Untitled
  12. Mercy Dash
  13. Intro

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…

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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3 Responses to Shriekback Consider Mining Past Glories [part 1]

  1. Echorich says:

    Shriekback helped to create, with their slinky, grimy, thumping downtempo sound – in the mid 80’s – the genre we came to know as “Leftfield” in the early 90’s.
    I stuck with them initially through Big Night Music, lost a bit of interest with Go Bang! and began to come back to what they were doing with Naked Apes And Pond Life. I’m a huge fan of their 2010 release Life In The Loading Bay. Their sound still slithers across floor, built to be listened to best at night. But there’s an obvious maturity, which could certainly have diminished their impact, but to these ears creates even more pent up energy an emotion.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Yes, “Go Bang” was their sole mis-step. When they reappeared for “Sacred City,” I was pleasantly surprised that they had returned to a spartan vibe, similar to “Care” after their stab at commerce. To hear Andrews speak of it, that was partly down to, yes, the dreaded label pressure to suck in the last half of the eighties in pursuit of the almighty “crossover,” but it was also the band seeing what would happen if they tried to obtain mass appeal. Successful cult bands should never attempt this!


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