Record Review: Shriekback – Peel Sessions + Singularities

Shriekback | CD-R | 2016

Shriekback | CD-R | 2016

Shriekback: Peel Sessions + Singularities UK CD-R [2016]

  1. My Spine (Is The Bassline) [BBC]
  2. All The Greek Boys (Do The Handwalk) [BBC]
  3. Feelers [BBC]
  4. Suck [BBC]
  5. Newhome [BBC]
  6. Under the Lights [BBC]
  7. Fish Below the Ice [BBC]
  8. Faded Flowers [BBC]
  9. Everything that Rises (Must Converge) [BBC]
  10. Sexthinkone (Exotic Mix)
  11. Accretions (Original Mix)
  12. Mothloop II
  13. Lined Up (InstruMENTAL Mix)
  14. Closework
  15. Nightwork
  16. Accretions (Monstrous Dance Mix)
  17. Despite Dense Weed [live]

Given that their BBC sessions have never see the commercial light of day, I was more than interested in Shriekback’s recent self-released compilation of their Peel Sessions. All three of their Peel Sessions are here, but the other two sessions for Kid Jensen or Janice Long are conspicuous in their absence, so when the term “Peel Sessions” was bandied about here, that was exactly what was at stake. The sourcing of masters for these are mostly optimal. The first and third trio sound particularly robust; as if mastered from at least 7.5 i.p.s. safety copies. The three that dated from the “Jam Science” era were obviously taken from FM recordings, with all of the noise bed that implies.

The real joy of these session are like the devil; they lie within the details of the takes. The big difference here was that the drums on each of these sessions are all live examples of Martyn Barker hitting the skins. That alone gives the sinuous funk groove of this material a more chaotic animal power that lifts them up into enchantment. That alone makes the studio version of “Feelers” here the go-to studio take since the concert versions I’ve heard of this have long since eclipsed the more tentative studio version on the “My Spine Is The Baseline” 12″ single.

Another highlight was the should-have-been-a single that was “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” A deep cut from the take-no-prisoners “Oil + Gold” period, the shining, logarithmic synths rise in a powerful portamento arc into the stratosphere while Carl Marsh pontificated wildly over the throbbing bass of Dave Allen. As ever, the live drumming here courtesy of Martyn Barker accrued new powers to this already potent track.

shriekback - workingonthegroundUK12AThe remainder of this disc is a curation of loose remixes, already missing from the band’s recent “Jam Science” and “Care” self-released CDs. All of these are vinyl rips, but none of them egregious in their provenance. I was particularly thrilled to get the “Mothloop II” previously only on the NME tape “Racket Packet.” Two of the B-sides here [“Closework,” “Nightwork”] were from the “Working On the Ground” 7″/12″ and since I still don’t have any Shriekback 7″ material, I got to hear Closework” for the first time ever! Both tracks are metronomical dubs of “Working On The Ground,” one of their most methodical cuts ever.

shriekback-myspine-baselineger12aAnother highlight was the appearance on CD of the “Accretions [Monsterous Dance Mix]” from the “Lined Up/My Spine” 12″ single. The exuberant dubspace in this one where the breakdown occurs has always been a knowing excursion into the spaces between the sounds that always lay under the surface of Shriekback. It’s to my essential regret that I was never in a club where this one was playing. The best I got was overplays of “Nemesis” [as if such a song can be said to have been ‘overplayed’] back in the day. A pity, since this disc reveals only strengths from the careful hand of Shriekback. All of his material should have propagated more widely out into the world. The strength of this disc is as such that if it were the first Shriekback album virgin ears had ever heard, then I daresay it would have found acolytes for life.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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