Shriekback: Live At the Orange ’94 – UK – CD 
- The Preparation
- Over the Wire
- Captain Cook
- Dingle Dai
- Faded Flowers
- Invisible Rays
- Pretty Little Things
- The Consummation
Saints preserve us… so yesterday it was Gary Daly and today it’s Shriekback. Somehow, I think my favorite musicians have formed a sinister cabal to siphon my scant discretionary funds on a revolving basis. There have been things that I could not even save up for since they were here and gone before the total could be met, but at least this one is chump change. And yes, it’s another archival project. The stinging irony is that their new album has only been shipped to the Indiegogo pledgers and has yet to manifest in their two web stores online.
Back in 1994, I was barely on the internet. It happened for me when we switched to Windows NT 3.5 at work from Windows For Workgroups 3.1.1. All of a sudden, we had Netscape, a 256 KBS connection, and a whole new world was out there. But that was pure Wild West. Those days are gone. But even then, Shriekback were in a black hole for me following their return from the ashes of “Go Bang” with the reassuringly solid “Sacred City” album and video [on VHS as I recall…] in 1991. I’m hazy on the details, but know that I did not see another Shriekback album until shopping in Tower Records Washington D.C. in 2002 when I spotted a double pack CD of “Aberrations ’81-’84/Naked Apes + Pond Life.”
That was a double thrill since we would be hearing early archival stuff from their formative years as well as the hard to find latest album. When I played the new one I was shocked to hear the notion of acoustic Shriekback coming out of my speakers and sounding like, well… Shriekback! Unlike some of my favorite artists [if you are a regular here, you know the ones] Shriekback could venture down this path because they had a much stronger artistic POV and identity than some other bands I could name who lost all of their mojo when eschewing electricity. There – that’s a good Shriekback song title, eh? You put “Naked Apes + Pond Life” on and by gar, you’d still know it was Shriekback.
So when this new CD was mooted a few weeks ago as coming in the new year, I put it out of my mind because I always usually slack on this sort of thing. I’m usually buying things that were cheap when they came out 2-3 years ago but are now driving up in value [before they become unaffordable], while ignoring the multitude of moderately and even cheaply priced goods in the here and now. Sad, but it’s how I’m wired. Then last week the mailing list revealed that the pre-order that had been going on for at least a month would be just that. Once the orders were in after a cut-off happening pretty soon, the band would manufacture enough goods to meet the pre-demand but probably not any future demand [save for the possibility of a stately re-issue ten years down the line or more].
“Hmm…maybe I should think about it more actively,” I pondered.
Then yesterday the imminent cut-off for pre orders was waved in front of my eyes and I had to either act now or suck it up. The audio quality on this was mooted as “bootleg quality.” I am fine with boots, within reason. As long as the excitement level was captured from a gig I’m pretty easy to please. And this was a 1994 gig done at a time when I was unaware of what the band were doing or if they even continued to exist at all. I imagine that the gig here prefigured the “Naked Apes + Pond Life” vibe that would not manifest for five more years. That didn’t mean that the songs didn’t yet exist. The tracks in bold would appear five years later on NA+PL. The ones in red are still not tied down to any canonical album by the band. Three are Shriekback “oldies.”So yes, these tracks may be the only time one can hear tracks like “The Consummation.” Someone just mentioned “Captain Cook” on the comments and I sincerely had no idea, yet here it is.
I’ve sampled “Seething” and yep. This is a serviceable live recording that sounded like you could have possibly made it yourself that night if you had a Walkman Pro®. The band sounded a few feet away from the mic but then again, so did the fans in evidence. The stereo spread on the twin cardioids on a Walkman Pro® are only an inch or so apart so this sounded effectively mono. I don’t think that whole “remote mics clipped onto the bill of a hat” thing for greater stereo spread at concerts existed in 1994. So caveat emptor. But if you feel that you might want to go there, don’t dawdle. I’m guessing that there’s probably no more than a 48 hour window to order the artifact. I’ve already signed off, so you know where I stand. It’ll set you back £10.00/$13.09 and there may be less fun ways to tithe to this wonderful band, but they’re all worth it.
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