My attraction to this band is my unabashed love for the deep, sexy, croon-in-your-ear voice of Barry Andrews. The band’s dark, moody instrumentation accompanied by Andrews’ equally mercurial and pensive singing sets the stage for a mind-bending excursion into the inner reaches of your soul.
The band originally formed in 1981 and, like many 80’s bands, morphed through several line-up changes, sustaining them up until their most recent release in 2007. The core members were Barry Andrews, Dave Allen (bass guitar) and Carl Marsh. Andrews’ previous musical experience included performing with the bands XTC and League of Gentlemen. Allen’s pedigree included bassist for the group Gang of Four.
Shriekback enjoyed mild success in the UK, but remained virtually unknown here in the states. Michael Mann (producer of “Miami Vice,” “Manhunter,” and “Band of the Hand”) took a liking to the ethereal, atmospheric sounds that set Shriekback apart from the crowd, much like his own TV and movie creations. Mann featured several of Shriekback’s songs in his productions, thus gaining some US traction for the group.
My personal favorites are the LPs Care and Oil and Gold. These two collections highlight all that was and is still good about this unique band. I also purchased Cormorant a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised to hear a band that had managed to not compromise their signature talent and sound over the years.
Check out the band bios and more of their music on MySpace. If you are in the mood for music that will pique your intellect while shaking your soul, you won’t be disappointed.
“Nemesis” via YouTube user universalmusicgroup:
“Underwaterboys” via YouTube user cloud74buster:
“Hand On my Heart” via YouTube user groovedigger00:
“Accretions” (Monstrous Dance Mix) via YouTube user Ox51D:
Purchase Shriekback music here.
Tench (EP – 1982)
Jam Science (1984)
Oil and Gold (1985)
Big Night Music (1986)
Go Bang (1988)
I *love* Shriekback. My favorite song of theirs is the lovely “Faded Flowers.” Heartbreaking in its own way.
I agree…and also “The Only Thing That Shines” and “This Big Hush”…in fact, Oil and Gold is absolutely brilliant. Why did it take me years and years to appreciate this group?
All the best,
Wonderful choice Missp, check out another track called “Fish Under Ice”. It is one of my personal favourites.
Love that one, too. You have inspired me to go back and listen to the collections on Tench, Care, Jam Science, and Oil & Gold. I need to rip Cormorant so I can have that one on my iPod as well. Today is going to be a day of digging into a good novel while simultaneously listening to Shriekback on my iPod. 🙂
So much great music, so little time…
Welcome to *my* world! 😀
The first Shriekback album I owned was Go Bang because I liked the title track. The rest of the album is questionable.
Interestingly, the first song I downloaded illegally was “Gunning For The Buddha,” which is a fine little song.
(For the record, at the time, I couldn’t find it anywhere else and I have since acquired a higher quality version via legal means.)
The jury is still out on whether I like “Gunning for the Buddha” or not. It’s one of those songs that I know I *should* like – but Shriekback has others that are just so good and so ethereal that “Gunning for the Buddha” becomes somewhat of the “crazy uncle of the family.” You love him unconditionally because he’s a relative, but there’s something about him that makes you feel uncomfortable….
Just came across your blog and was pleased to see you’re trying to bring some attention to Shriekback.
I saw them open up for Simple Minds during their tour for the Once Upon a Time LP eons ago. Must have been 1985. Shriekback were promoting Oil & Gold.
They completely blew my mind with their kinetic performance.
Put Simple Minds to shame and I think Kerr & Co. knew it.
I hadn’t seen a more colorful, energetic, funky band before.
Went out and bought every one of their records that I could find.
A shame they never made it bigger in the states.
Thanks for sharing that memory with us. It’s almost hard to believe Shriekback would outshine Simple Minds, but then I see it clearly because of the difference in styles. How fortunate for you to have been in attendance to hear two such fabulous bands perform.
And yes, it is a major shame they were not promoted here. Just one of many truly talented artists the corporate suits chose to ignore, all the while shoving the tripe of Madonna, Cher, Michael Jackson, and the glut of metal bands down our throats.
Thanks again and cheers!
It might be worth mentioning that the band revived in the 2000’s and has put out a few records since then, including the (career-best, in my opinion) Life in the Loading Bay. Barry’s side-project Anaxaton6 is quite groovy as well.
Thanks so much for that update!