tinhuviel: (Cadmus Pariah)

I don’t think I have ever made a comprehensive list of the influences that helped in the creation of Cadmus Pariah.  If I can explain without sounding like an utter loon, I will also write out my reasons for their involvement in Cadmus.  The list is really not in any order, except for the first three or so, which are ridiculously obvious and I’d just be a prat if I didn’t put them first.  So, without further ado.

  • Barry Andrews: Well, duh.  He gave Cadmus his looks.  Aunt Tudi thought Barry had the most angelic face she’d ever seen.  That, combined with a half-sleep nightmare that involved him, heavily influenced Cadmus’ appearance and dichotomous demeanour.
  • Carl Marsh:  Carl Marsh gave Cadmus his name.  Think about it.  He was the collected companion of the menace of Barry’s priest in the video for Nemesis.  That knowing stoicism he exuded gave Cadmus the needed cap to his misunderstood rage, and is often the only thing that keeps the Pariah from falling into mindless depravity.
  • Tim Curry (in character as Gaal from Earth 2):  Gaal was a manipulator and a murderer with a silver tongue.  He gravitated to endearments like “pet” and “poppet”.  His voice, along with Barry’s dramatic whisper on many of Shriekback’s best songs, comprise what Cadmus sounds like in my mind.  
  • Ed Kowalczyk:  Cadmus became a hardcore hedonist thanks to Ed Kowalczyk of the band Live.  His performance in their video for the song “Freaks”, along with the fact that his nails were painted, was like a Cabaret for the damned.  It was perfect.  Before Tom Hardy, I wanted Ed Kowalczyk to play Cadmus in my movie.

  • Tom Hardy:  This was an odd one, because Cadmus was already fully-formed and developed by the time Tom Hardy railroaded into my world.  I see my stories as movies in my head and, before Mr. Hardy, Cadmus’ appearance was a very effeminate, Egyptian, alien version of Barry Andrews.  Then I saw Star Trek: Nemesis (aptly named) and beheld one of the best actors to come along in a very long time accurately interpret the ravages of child abuse on a young adult, and BOOM, he was anchored to Cadmus.  As a result, Cadmus adopted a more sullen affect, at times, and was also graced with an eloquent viciousness, devoid of any bothersome conscience, because conscience was for the weak.  Tom Hardy also allowed Cadmus to properly express anger with dignity, inadvertently contributing what I called his “crazy eye” to my character.  Cadmus’ change of mood, indicated by just a single subtle expression, can turn a situation of civility into one of slaughter in literally the blink of an eye.
  • Annie Lennox:  Her techno-domme persona has pretty much affected all aspects of my writing and character creation, but she touched Cadmus in particular with her stoic command of everything around her in the “Sweet Dreams” video, combined with her perfect androgynous image.  I’ve never put Cadmus Pariah in a suit before but, if I ever do, it will be because of Annie Lennox.
  • Rob Dougan:  His song “Clubbed to Death” teamed up with Shriekback’s “Deeply Lined Up” to create thematic sound of Cadmus Pariah’s soul.  Everything and everyone belongs to him, and he dispenses with his possessions as he sees fit.
  • Darth Maul:  Prior to The Phantom Menace, Cadmus was devoid of any sexuality.  He was a creature of destruction, not affection, love, or lust.  Then came Maul.  Wrapped in dark flowing robes that were incredibly Cadmusian, this soft-spoken warrior was a physical poet.  His poise and grace enhanced Cadmus Pariah, and gave him the ability to experience sexual gratification.
  • Pryrates:  From Tad Williams’ trilogy, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Pryrates was the red priest who dabbled heavily in dark magick and alchemy, eventually uniting with the Storm King in his quest for dominion.  Like Cadmus, Pryrates is small and bald, but his fierceness and determination affected the development of my character, and I must admit the influence.  Pryrates is the reason Cadmus maintains an altar, despite his lack of faith.
  • Pinhead:  This should be obvious to anyone.  My Cadmus aspires to reach the levels of poetry and slaughter Pinhead has wrought in the written world.  Everything about him is beauty, dread, desire, and suffering.  It is Pinhead who inspired Cadmus to say, “Survival is the parchment upon which the Law of Nature is Inscribed.”  Like Cadmus, Pinhead is dedicated to his ideal, his focus is an exercise in perfection.  He, along with Barry, gave Cadmus his eloquence.
  • Hannibal Lecter:  His command of the language deeply inspired the development of Cadmus.  Also, his abiity to manipulate through nothing but words is something I felt Cadmus would be perfect at doing.  There is also the Shriekback/Hannibal connection that gives me episodes of frisson.  I love it.
  • Randall Flagg:  I admit that my fascination with Randall Flagg is probably incredibly unhealthy but, when I read The Stand in 1980, I was drawn into this charismatic entity, and his spirit dwelt within me for a decade before Cadmus was born.  Randall Flagg is a natural leader and a master manipulator.  He exudes the perfect combination of fright and desire.  This absolutely influenced Cadmus Pariah.

I’m sure there are other influences that I just can’t think of right now, but these folks/characters are the core.  Writers often say that their characters are figments of the imagination and not based on any real person, but I beg to differ.  We write what we know, and we are constantly bombarded with inspirations and influences.  It’s inevitable that they come out in our compositions.  In my opinion, it’s perfectly natural, and the primary method by which information is passed on from one generation to another.


Apr. 25th, 2016 04:02 pm
tinhuviel: (Hickey Monster)

Last Tuesday, I officially ended an almost 30-year friendship that unofficially ended when I was thrown into grief over losing Aunt Tudi.  It would seem that suicidal depression and self-isolation clears the room every damned time.  I’m not saying anything further about it, because there’s nothing more to say, except for one thing.  The friendship could often be very toxic but, because of who we were and how we were treated before we met, the two of us always ended up back together.  It won’t happen this time.  There are too many miles, tears, and life-changes between us now.  I will miss him but, honestly, I’ve been missing him since he moved across the country back in the 90s.  It’s time to accept the inevitable.

In other loss news, I’m still reeling over the death of Prince.  From the moment I heard and saw him in the Controversy video, I was in love with his music and in lust with him.  From 1981 until his death, that never changed, and it never will.  After so many losses of beloved musicians so far this year (fuck you, 2016.  fuck you hard.), I’m pretty much walking around in a combination of stunned grief and abject fear.  Why the fear?  Well, there’s Shriekback, Barry Andrews and Carl Marsh in particular, with whom I’ve developed a good friendship/acquaintance and a fine working relationship over the years.  Then there’s Jeff Lynne, who’s resurrected ELO I’m supposed to finally get to see in concert after ages of dreaming.  If any of them passES this year, I’m going to lose my fucking shit.  I’m not exaggerating here.  I can barely handle thinking and writing about it.

tinhuviel: (cadmus pariah)
Wherein [livejournal.com profile] beheretinnitus speaks with the inimitable Barry Andrews and Carl Marsh!
Just click the pic to be taken to the podcast!
tinhuviel: (PSA)

MasterBAG Newsbag

"The fact that it isn’t breaking its back to be anything is quite liberating," says Barry Andrews, pondering over the music he’s currently making with Shriekback. "It’s what it is – individuality is quite refreshing. Like those old guys who walk down Oxford Street carrying banners saying ‘stop eating peanuts’. It makes you feel good about people."

Specifically, he means a new single called "Sexthinkone" and a mini-LP labeled "Tench". Both are on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records, and both their sound and the manner of their making suggest something a little bit out of the ordinary.

There’s the basic nucleus of Shriekback, for a start. It’s a trio – Barry Andrews, Gang of Four’s former bassist Dave Allen and guitarist Carl Marsh, who used to be with Out on Blue Six. On top of these three, any number of friends and accomplices might drop by the studio to help out. "Sexthinkone" itself features departed member Brian Nevill on percussion, plus Linda Nevill and Andrea Oliver on vocals, a strange character allegedly called Carlo Lucius Asciutti on piano and xylophone and Dick O’Dell himself on "paperweight and claptrap of death".

Dave Allen, who talks most, backtracks. "What I wanted to do was get together a loose collective of people where you would maintain a sort of unit, but it wouldn’t ever be a band. It would come out with a lot of material that would involve a lot of people that you wouldn’t necessarily keep on.

"We’ve got to the point where the three of us now work together very well and very easily, and this is the unit. Now we just invite people down who we think would be suitable to perform on our tracks, so it’s like a very loose collective with Shriekback as the sort of mentors and producers."

Andrews – who used to be with XTC – and Allen both shudder when they think back on their days with big groups on major labels. Both loathed the duhumanising process of touring, and both now find it incredible to think back on the thoughtlessness with which groups are sucked into the ponderous mechanisms of "rock’n’roll" and its attendant money-wasting potential.

Andrews: "I hesitate to use the word ‘decadent’, but that’s what it is. Working with Y means a lot more work on our part, like we actually have to do a lot of stuff like artwork and looking after day to day logistics ourselves, but it also means you know who’s responsible for what and things don’t keep getting passed round offices."

Carl Marsh chips in: "If a group like this had been involved in a major label it’s possible it wouldn’t have survived the process, because there’s so many pigeonholes you’re supposed to fit into."

For example, the "Tench" LP contains some 26 minutes’ worth of music and retails at £2.99. "People can afford £2.99," says Dave Allen. "Skidoo proved it. There’s just no reason to put out 10 or 12 tracks, four of which you don’t really like, and sell it for £4.50 because the record company want to get its money back."

Shriekback have kept operating costs to a minimum by seeking out various small, cheap London studios, and recorded "Tench" at KPM, a 16 track demo studio owned by their music publishers EMI Publishing. It had never occurred to anybody before to make records there, but as the Shrieks point out, there simply isn’t any good reason to spend £50 and upwards an hour in a big-name studio when you can achieve excellent results at a third of that cost.

And the music? As Andrews points out, it’s my job to label it, not his, but I’m at a loss for some glib handle to attach to it. How can you describe the ominous stalking of "Mothloop", or the curious obliqueness of "All the Greekboys (Do The Handwalk)"? The photograph on the label of "Tench", by the way , inspired the latter song. "I think he’s probably Turkish, but it didn’t scan," confides Andrews.

But mark my words, there may be a new force in the land.

Adam Sweeting

Masterbag July 8-21 1982

Tench has been reissued and remastered, with additional tracks and a bonus CD of their never-before-released 1983 Detroit concert. You can purchase this via their store on Burning Shed by clicking the Tench pic. Order before 1 September, and you will also receive the Shriek/Thee Caretakers collaborative effort free!

tinhuviel: (B Interview)

Another Throwback Thursday confection for all my homies.


Some time ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves in contact with Barry Andrews via the Internet. He further astonished us by agreeing to an Interview! So, with an abundance of fan input, we put together a "small collection" of the most pertinent questions and fairly alarmed him with a Lengthy Interrogation. Undaunted, Mr. Andrews expressed himself as he most usually does: with eloquence and not a small amount of wit.

Shriek Questions

The Band

  • How did you meet Dave Allen, Carl Marsh, and Martyn Barker? How did the band come together?
    Errr, met Dave thru Sara Lee –(Bassist w. League of Gentlemen –Leeds connection) He rang me on leaving Go4, Carl wrote him a letter (ever the literary one) and I brought Mart in when we needed a proper drummer –I knew him from Clare Hirst, the sax –player who I was going out with and who played in The Emotional Spies w. Mart. ( I think that’s right ??)

  • Did Shriekback try to create an image with your music and visuals? If so, were you successful?
    Sure we tried, I think we had our moments.

  • Were you surprised with the positive response to last year’s album, "Naked Apes and Pond Life"?
    Very much so. I’d disowned the whole project and was off bashing bits of metal (rather than other band members). Had it not been for Lu and Martyn it would never have come out. The fact that it was sonically the least user-friendly of all our work made it doubly suprising that it was getting good reviews (the old ‘fuck em if they can’t take a joke’ ethic again I guess)

  • Is that what got you to thinking of the possibility of a new Shriekback project sometime in the future? There’s rumour that both Carl and Dave are involved with the new Shriek project. Would you care to comment?
    Dave was in London with a big expense account to abuse, so the Shrieks (class of 85) duly obliged. It was a heady mixture of lurid cocktails, free money and that ineluctable chemistry of 4 old pervs with something still to prove. It looks very likely that we will do Another One. With D & C.

  • What are the Seven Pillars of Shriekback?
    They were a series of principles by which we intended to focus our, at the time, dissipated and addled energies in order to create a rock band.  Have totally forgotten what they were, though..

  • Tell us about the Shriek logo. Whose idea was it and does it have a particular meaning. If so, what?
    It was Al Macdowell’s design –our sympatico Art Person (last seen being head of production design on the Fight Club film –howabouthat?).   I think it was to do with cyclical energy (otherwise known as going round in circles –hmm, be careful what you visualise).

  • Do you still have contact with Sarah and Wendy? What are they doing these days?
    Oh yes, very much so. Seeing them this Friday, actually. Wendy’s a homeopathic practitioner (with 2 kids) about to Move to The Country. And Sarah manages recording engineers and producers.

  • Are you enthusiastic about the resurgence of Shriekback’s popularity?
    Now there’s a leading question, with a certain ambiguity. I certainly like the idea of making some more music both with, and without, the Chaps. A Shriek-Renaissance would be handy. Is it happening? Maybe. You tell me… I don’t get out much.

Shriek Works

  • Why do so many Shriek songs resonate with a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) spiritual energy, both sacred and profane?
    Aww, get outta here. Do they? Cheers. Nice one.  Like Jah Wobble (whom God Preserve) said: 'You either make music to see God, or to make money, and if it’s making money then you end up like a million other people all trying to get lucky with a beat.' That’s not exactly relevant really though, is it? I love the idea of touching people in That Place. That’s the main idea, of course.

  • Looking back on the albums the Shrieks have made, do you have a personal favourite and, if so, why? Do you have any favourite Shriekback songs? Any you dislike?
    Care, because we really had no idea what we were doing but we couldn’t help doing it. It was discovering a place where we / I could legitimately and comfortably express ourselves. Finding a Voice, all that.. The end of a hard, messy road of adolescent angst and it was Going To Be Alright after all. Still does sound like that to me, as it goes.


  • Evaporation because it was the first time I got the underwater, Lee Perry, ‘it’s dark but don’t be afraid’ thing to happen. Nice ‘tune’ (meaning melody).

  • Black Light Trap because it’s so ..Large. Lots going on. Architectural vibe. Big creaky Gormenghast thing with disco. Sounds like Shriekback and absolutely noone else.

  • This Big Hush - A big scary fantastic Love affair in the snows of 85 and everything impossibly vivid. Well that’s what I was doing. Add your own recollections, of course.


  • Get Down Tonight (what were we thinking of? oh yeah, making money , that’s right)

  • Mercy Dash the single (the intoxication of trying to sound like someone else - don’t do it, kids, especially not with machines that you don’t understand.)  Still, that’s it, not bad over 8 albums, is it?

  • What songs were made into videos?
    Nemesis, Get Down Tonight, Lined Up...

  • Any hope of a video compilation? Speaking of videos, who conceptualised the ‘Nemesis’ video?
    Probably not, who could possibly have the ‘masters’? and they were all dodgy apart from Nemesis.  I did all the ‘conceptualising’, Al McDowell did the visualising, Tony VandenEnde (the ostensible director) made it happen.


  • There is word of a new compilation album of obscure and unreleased material coming out sometime in March entitled "Aberrations 81-4". In what countries will this be available? Is there anything further you would care to offer to your listeners regarding this album?
    The territories are down to who wants it –where we can get licensing deals. The States will be covered by Nail Records, we think…  It will be available from Mauve Records mail order if all else fails.  It’s an interesting car-boot sale of weirdness, 9 never before released songs also remixes, live bits etc. Copious sleeve-notes by Marsh and I. We’re going to include ‘Naked Apes’ in the package, so it’s cracking good value for anyone who never got the latter.

  • Will we ever see the BBC recordings released?
    Hope so, we’re looking into the Legalities (not the name of a soul band).

  • Michael Mann used the Shrieks’ music extensively in ‘Miami Vice’ and in the movie ‘Manhunter’. Did you ever meet him and do you foresee any future collaborations?
    No and No. Shame: I especially liked it when they were chasing the Miami coke-baron round the harbour in speed-boats, white 80’s trousers flapping and Shrieks are singing some weirdshit in Sanskrit (Running on the Rocks). Obviously made sense to Mike.

Personal Questions


  • Tell us about your Illuminati project.
    Doomed doomed, emotionally overwrought Guitar driven rock, Humungous female vocal, ravishing melodies. Me trying to be ‘non-ironic’ and ‘not weird’. Don’t fight your nature, that’s what I learnt. Still have the album in the can. Maybe release it someday.

  • What music do you listen to? What do you think of today’s pop music scene?

bazzachat2015.jpgANDREWS PLAYLIST 2001

  1. Beethoven ‘Creatures of Prometheus’

  2. Planxty (Irish trad) ‘The Woman I loved so well’ ‘After the Break’

  3. Nick Cave ‘The Boatman’s Song’ ‘Murder Ballads’

  4. Arvo Part 'Cantus for Benjamin Britten' 'Festina Lente'

  5. John Cooper Clarke ‘Snap Crackle and Bop’

  6. Slade ‘Greatest Hits’

  7. Underworld ‘Everything Everything’

  8. Mouse on Mars ‘niun niggung’

  • Will we ever see a collection of your solo work?
    Dunno, it’s nearly all only on cassette so it would be a hissy kind of a thang.

  • Will we see anymore from The Caretakers, the Refugees, or some other project yet to come to light?
    Caretakers are Bruce Mcrae and Carlo Asciutti, both of whom are complicated men to get hold of. Bruce is in Canada and Carlo’s in East Dulwich – which might as well be Canada. Come on guys, the World needs you… sigh, what can you do with ‘em?

  • What prompted the song ‘Win a Night out with a Well-Known Paranoiac’?
    The Adolescent angst of which I spoke and my snotty scruffy persona, (at 22-23) & resistance to authority which wound up all the right people sufficiently to support a – that’s right - paranoid world view. I liked the idea of a spoken song like Patti Smith’s 'Piss Factory'. It’s funnier though-especially the bit about the 'Underwater Toilet.'


  • When did you develop an interest in music?
    The parent’s collection of 78’s on the wind-up record player (fuck-I’m old) me alone in the attic playing ‘Shifting Whispering Sands’ and 'Indian Love call'. The rest is history.

  • Most of what we’ve heard about your departure from XTC has been from sources in relation to that band. In fact, in the liner notes of the recent XTC box set, Andy Partridge laments your leaving the band. To balance things out, would you like to let your side be heard?
    Well, as I’ve said probably more times than I should – I always regarded XTC as a stepping stone –we came from the the same town, were all working class pissheads and were all talented, it was never really a meeting of minds. Thus, as soon as we had some breathing space from touring and getting a deal it was obvious that this combination had run it’s course. You don’t need a degree in Workplace Dynamics to see that both an Andrews and a Partridge is one egomaniac only-child too many. For me that was – as they say in Swindon – ‘it and all about it’. It was great fun for a while though. And loads of shagging.

  • Many articles and XTC book passages indicate that you’ve seemingly resented the intellectual labels attributed to you and, later, Shriekback. Have your feelings changed on this issue or do you still wish to stress the physical aspect of your music?
    I don’t know why you say this. Anyone who calls me an intellectual will have me purring on the floor and buying them drinks.

    Oh, you probably mean that ‘what do your lyrics mean?’ type thing.

    It’s really that what I’ve always tried to do with music – specifically SONGS- which are a brilliant art-form and still nowhere near exhausted - is create new places - funny little aquariums where the rules of the outside world no longer apply. Bear in mind that this is not sheet music it’s recorded music so all sorts of subtleties and inflections are possible – the ambient sound in the room, the slapback echo all have different things to say (ambient sound says ‘fly on the wall documentary,’ slap-back can mean Elvis or, add a few repeats and it’s Nuremberg). What I mean is that Songs are perceived sonically, primarily - then we add the strata of meaning. But, as with all good art-forms the most fun is in the grey areas. Where the Delicious Frissons of Ambiguity live.

    So when you can’t quite hear what Strummer’s singing on Janie Jones, you hallucinate your own visions into the gap between what you can understand and what you can’t. As one does as a child listening to the grown ups talk. It’s an interesting place to be. When I finally saw those lyrics written down the song was over for me. Not that they were bad lyrics, just that they were only what they were, no longer all the things they might possibly be.

    So the lyrics are one part of this tense interdependent little biosphere. Another example: Marvin Gaye's ‘Grapevine’ –it’s dark, the bass and congas sound jungly (like a Rousseau jungle in purples) the song’s about jealousy - there are loads of different ways of saying ‘people are saying that you’re seeing someone else’ but he picks vines – big strangly creepy things with round sweet purple grapes on them and the jungly groove and the sweet sad voice and the minor key all support each other – organically, you’d have to say - the medium and the message all beautifully shmershed together. The lyrics as written don’t tell you any of this, like the sheet music doesn’t tell you how sexy that bass line is. The experience is to be had in front of a speaker and that’s it. SO - even if you use words like ‘parthenogenesis’ and ‘historesis’ you’re still playing the same game. I used ‘parthenogenesis’ mainly because it sounded good and almost rhymed with Nemesis. The meaning was secondary (but relevant). So if you were to apply the ‘Grapevine’ treatment to that chorus - my intention was to get a laugh - or at least an internal smirk - from the big-almost football crowd-chorus, the long ungainly scientific word, the huge daft power chords, and everything within this barmy context of ‘let’s examine the nature of morality’ – like some philosophy professor who went to Vietnam and listened to a lot of Gary Glitter. Still makes me laugh.

    Another way to see it is like you ‘get’ a joke, which, if you want, you can explain, and you can even analyse why it’s funny. But the point of the joke is really only in the ‘getting’ of it. If you don’t experience that then all the rest is pointless. Thus, when people make a big deal of 'explaining the lyrics', it very often (experience has shown) means that they never really ‘got’ the idea of the song. It’s turned into some gnarly little Eng. Lit puzzle.

    Blimey, value-for-money-question.

The Individual

  • We know that you are a consummate musician, that you’ve dabbled in filmmaking, and that you’re also an artist, having studied 3-D design. It would seem that you’re quite the Renaissance man. Is that a fair description? How would you describe yourself?
    Naah, the trouble with doing lots of things is that you meet lots of people who only do one thing and are therefore extremely good at them. Bad comparisons are inevitable. ‘Jack of all trades’ says it . Still, it seems to be my nature to apply a similar aesthetic to lots of different things and this is as close to a mission statement as I can get: ‘try everything, make up as many things as possible; remember to take notes.’

  • There have also been many comments from folks who’ve met you that you exude an otherworldly air. Would you care to address that?
    I have been known to drift, somewhat. Oh yes..

  • We’ve heard many stories from fans whom have attended Shriek concerts and, afterwards, were thrilled to find you dancing, drinking, and generally making merry with them after the show. Why are you so prone to mingle with the fans when artists, including other members of the band, don’t generally engage in such activity?
    Human fucking Beings, man. What else is there?

  • In what other projects are you currently involved?
    The ongoing exegesis of Parc Stic (a metaphysical theme park) and amassing material for a solo album. And keeping an eye on Finn (the lad) who’s starting his own musical career (which is spooky).

  • Being the primary lyricist for Shriekback, it’s obvious you have a gift with words. Do you write prose as well or have you considered doing so?
    Saving that for when I’m Really old and can’t do anything else.

  • Who or what would you say is your greatest influence?
    Alex Harvey, Lee Perry, Patti Smith, the Constructed World (not a band either).

  • The dance that you and the Sids perform to ‘The Reptiles and I’ in the ‘Jungle of the Senses’ concert video exhibits a variety of Kung Fu movements. That, combined with the fact that you’ve been spotted many times wearing Tabi, lead us to ask if you’re a Martial Artist as well. If so, what form or forms have you studied?
    Mark Raudva – who plays on ‘Naked Apes’ - is a qualified Tai Chi teacher and would piss himself if he read that. I studied with him for about six months and gave up. I did Aikido for about three weeks – way too upsetting.

  • What do you think of the world today?
    Oh the easy ones at the end eh?

Final Thoughts

  • What would you like see happen at Shriekback.com?
    The hub of a new Renaissance, a centre for Excellence, a source of psychic nourishment and high quality gas-masks.

  • Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans of both you and Shriekback?
    ‘Hold fast to that which gives the deepest jollies.’

7 February, 2001

Help the Shrieks give us all more memories.  Visit their official website to sign up for the newsletter, and don't forget to pick up a copy of their new album, Without Real String or Fish!

tinhuviel: (RepLogo)

Still in its relative infancy, the old Shriekback.com, The Shriekback Digital Conspiracy, launched a campaign based on the idea that artists and their fans should cut out the middle man. As part of Throwback Thursday, here's what is said about that exciting time on Shriekback's Tumblr blog:

Since we're once again *having a moment*, let's take a look back to the genesis of our "by subscription" EP, which foretold the rise of crowdfunding 14 years ago. This was the announcement seen on the old Shriekback.com back in 2001. To those who contributed then and are reading this now, we thank you again for helping make Having a Moment a reality, and cheers to you all for your continuing support. Having a Moment is once again available for purchase. You need only go to our online store. Whilst there, pick up a copy of our new album, Without Real String or Fish!

Personally, I think the band should be getting a cut of the profits sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo enjoy. Once again, the Shrieks were way ahead of their time.  Here is the original "Fate" page mentioned in the above announcement.  In order to easily read it, click the image for full size.


tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

The band have posted an hour-long interview, answering fans' questions. Take a gander, and don't forget to pick up a copy of Without Real String or Fish.

tinhuviel: (RepLogo)

~Through Us the Way into the Sacred City~

~Through Us the Way into Nights of Heat and Weirdness~

~Through Us the Way to the Illuminated Ones~

~Sheer enthusiasm made Us~

~And Passion and Poems and Sex~

~Before Us nothing but Excellence can endure~

~For We are the Gateway to Excellence, Deviance, and Delight~


tinhuviel: (RepLogo)

There is still a dinky handful of these left. Any of you who have known me for long, know the story behind them. If you don't, just ask. All you really need to know is that the CDs available are in their original wrap (the cigarette kind, not shrink wrap) with the barcodes and spine sticker unaltered or defaced in any way. These are, for all intents and purposes, brand new. Shriekback are offering the album for £40 (just over $60, USD), which is a median price for what the used CDs are typically going for on sites like eBay (new copies of the double CD are priced considerably higher, and you can't be completely sure that what you're buying hasn't already been opened and played, then rewrapped). With these, you can be confident that the product has never been unwrapped and played, and your money goes directly to the band, instead of to middleman profiteers. More importantly, your purchase will help Shriekback record more music for us all to enjoy!


To the best of my knowledge, these are the very last new copies of 'The Y Records Years.' To acquire one is pretty much a chance in a lifetime at this point, and I am not being dramatic. The band began to send word out a couple of days ago, that the CDs are available, and many have already been reserved for shipment. Right now, I believe around 10 are left.


Write the band at shriekprods@outlook.com to inquire about purchase.

If you have any questions regarding the double CD, feel free to ask me here or at susperia5@yahoo.com. If I know the answer, I'll give you one. If I don't know, I'll try to find out, then let you know what I've found.

Also, you may want to look into purchasing a copy of Shriekback's new album, their 13th studio project called Without Real String or Fish. It is a genuine tour de force that will more than satisfy longterm fans as well as seduce newcomers into Shriekback's eclectic reality.  The new album is available through Shriekback's official website.  Click on the album cover below to be taken to their store.  Besides the new album, they also have all manner of goodies ripe for the picking.  It's a veritable musical Garden of Eden!

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Now, go forth and shop with abandon!


You may get a better look at the CDs by clicking on the images for full size.
Hand model is Wilma Terry Evans.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)
And the album is getting excellent reviews already!  Take, for instance, Dadjago:

no titleTo me at least, the Shrieks have always felt as if they were otherworldy creatures dropping strands of (sometimes rather ichorous) knowledge on us. It might not be immediately intelligible, but there'salways been something there (barring "naked apes and pond life", not sure about that one...) worth examining. This is no exception, the terpsichorean wordplay and capering tunes all come together rather nicely. Much like "Life in the Loading Bay" the album is also possessed of that odd assurance that only comes from having been around the block a few times. There's no doubt, no existential crises, and no peacocking about in some confused attempt to get the attention of a lover or a contract. Not to say that any iota of energy or mystery has been sacrificed for this maturity, that's all still there, in grand amounts, it's just not wasted. Just, you know, buy this. You'll not regret it.

That's not all. Dadjago has plenty more to say, as do all the ones who have so far added their two daktari to the fray. Amazon is only offering the digital album, which can be purchased by clicking the album cover featured in the image above. But you can still obtain the actual physical CD from the band themselves. Having the lovely CD booklet and libretto is well worth the wait for the mailman to come calling! Or you could just do both. The more support the Shrieks have, the more likely we are to get more ingenious music from them.

tinhuviel: (RepLogo)

The World’s Second Best Pop Group with a Bald Singer
By Dave Segal (‘Creem’ June 1987)

“…Shriekback have opted to make a different kind of music – one which exalts human frailty and the harmonious mess of nature over the simplistic reductions of our crude computers.” – liner notes to Big Night Music. This thing called Shriekback is a strange beast. Trying to describe them gives me one hell of a headache. The new Shriekback music (it’s called Big Night Music but it could just as easily be called Small Morning Music) screws with rock critics’ rote jargon. If you wanted to be crass, you could label ‘em an intellectual funk band with gospel/cocktail lounge pretensions. Unlike most Anglo-Caucasians who funk around with black styles of music, Shriekback throw a skewered light on what, in pedestrian hands, can be a brain-numbing genre. You can attribute Shriekback’s uniqueness (no lie) to keyboardist/singer/lyricist Barry Andrews.

Andrews has full control of Shriekback now that Carl Marsh has departed with his Fairlights and drum computers for solo obscurity. Pared down to a trio (Dave Allen, he of the Zeus-like bass playing on Gang of Four’s first two LPs, and Martyn Barker on percussion toys), Shriekback have for the most part ditched Marsh’s vision of a “harsh disco reality” and gone for a rococo/eclectic sonic gumbo that’s as slippery to grasp as Eno’s skull in a bathtub. There’s a slickness to the Andrews/Gavin MacKillop production on Big Night Music, but don’t let that trouble yer noggin. It’s a good kind of slickness; Andrews has a Byrne-Enoesque aesthetic that enables him to craft exotic pop of excessive fussiness (‘Black Light Trap,’ ‘Running on the Rocks,’ ‘Sticky Jazz’) or of severe sparseness (everything else). You could call this The Soft Album without too much controversy.

Oddly, some of the songs sound better with the volume turned down. Perhaps because he can’t sing very well, Andrews often resorts to an intimate whispery delivery. Very nice and relaxing, this voice. And he’s a clever gump, too. It’s not by accident that wispy, gentle toons sit cheek by jowl with swollen brassy epics; and then out of nowhere will sprout a pretension-deflater like ‘Pretty Little Things,’ which sounds like Prince on helium and dexies. I tell ya, listening to Big Night Music is more fun than working in an abattoir on a humid day.

Andrews has the serene monkish demeanor of the Keith Carradine character in the Kung Fu TV show. Before Shriekback, he was in XTC from ’77 to ’79, and he also played with Robert Fripp’s League of Gentlemen in 1980. He’s a peace-lovin’, broad-minded intellectual dabbler wearing a black floppy hat and a long black coat. We had a civilized chat amid the delicately bubbling jacuzzi water inside a swanky Detroit hotel. Andrews proved to be more stimulating than a week’s worth of The Dick Cavett Show.

CREEM: Why did Carl Marsh leave Shriekback?
BARRY ANDREWS: He wanted to do solo things, really. Carl’s quite a self-contained sort of bloke I don’t think he ever found it easy working with other people. The band was becoming a two-headed beast that was tearing itself in half. Oil and Gold (released in ’85) suffered from that. A bit of schizophrenia between the Carl direction and my direction. I like things when they’re soft and vulnerable and maybe even a bit maudlin. I like a certain amount of crying into my Guinness.

Did Marsh’s departure cause a change in your sound?
Definitely, there was a sort of opening of the sluices. When Carl left, I felt like, firstly, I’ve got this huge canvas to work with on the whole record. It’s all gonna be my words, my tunes. So instead of it being this common denominator area we could inhabit with Carl, what the three of us could agree on was actually a bigger area because there were fewer things to filter out. I wanted to try doing something very simple and direct and emotional, like ‘The Cradle Song,’ Just trying out every option and seeing what’s possible. There’s a certain amount of experimentation that doesn’t work, but a whole lot that does. Normally we wouldn’t have even dared to try. Big Night Music is diverse. I don’t think anyone could complain about it being too homogenous. I think there is a coherence to it that we’ve never achieved on a record before, with the possible exception of Care (released in ’82)

Does everyone have creative input into the words and music?
I’m the sole lyricist. On the new album, Dave confined himself to bass playing, Martyn did a whole lot more than he’s ever done. He plays all the drums and does lots of percussion. So he’s actually responsible for quite a lot of the textures. I’m really responsible for the way the whole thing sounds and the structure of the songs. I can’t imagine collaborating with someone on a song. It would be like having somebody advise you while you’re having sex with somebody (laughs). There’s so much that just happens in your head. It’s quite a fragile process and it’s not something I could easily involve someone with.

Your lyrics have a stream of consciousness to them…
A stream of unconsciousness…(much laughter).

Sometimes it’s brilliant and at other times it leaves the listener baffled. Maybe they’re too oblique for universal understanding.
Maybe that’s a valid criticism. I don’t go in for any kind of broad political commentary.

You write more about personal things?
I don’t know if they’re even personal things, really. What I try to do is create an entity with sound that has not existed before. The songs are meant to be things you can walk into and walk around, that have their own kind of smell and atmosphere and texture. They’re not meant to be billboards or television programs. Or newspapers. The lyrics aren’t the point any more than the bass drum pattern’s the point. You might have a very good pair of kidneys but that’s not your whole story, is it?

If I asked you what ‘The Reptiles and I’ is about, could you tell me?
I can tell you what I was trying to do. It’s what it is for you definitely. That’s a nice fatuous answer, I suppose, and it’s what it means to me. And that’s about as far as it goes. I had this idea of using a lot of lists that I found in Webster’s Dictionary. A list of languages, elements, proverbs. I liked the idea of a bunch of verses that were lists. I was trying to create a nursery rhyme that would work in an adult way and would have that sort of darkness about it, that sinister kind of thing that the best nursery rhymes have. I’m really a little kid sitting at the foot of the great god Language. I’ve really got no command over it. I pretty much take what it gives me. I get excited by all the different ways people speak in the same way. I get excited about all the different cultures people can have, all the different ways of being in the world. It seems very rich and diverse and brilliant. And it inspires me.

Were you influenced by any writers?
I steal a lot. I’m a complete bastard for that. I’ll tell you the dead ones. I’ve ripped Shakespeare off something rotten. I’ve had my way with T.S. Eliot. Martin Luther King. The Bible. Certainly bits of the Koran. Complete verbal beachcomber.

At least you’re taking from great sources.
Oh yeah. That’s what they’re there for. To get crunched up and recycled. I don’t do it in any cynical way. It’s like doing a cover of a band’s song that you really think is a good song. It seems silly to wrack your brains when somebody else’s said it so well. I just rip it off. Shameless, really.

Have any current songwriters influenced you?
David Byrne’s approach – when I was a bit more uncertain about writing lyrics – he seemed to offer quite a good little cubbyhole to hide in, where you could get away without saying anything at all as long as it sounded all right. But on this LP, I got less and less satisfied with what you could do with that and more interested in what would happen if you pushed the thing up toward the light a little more. So things like ‘Cradle Song,’ ‘Reptiles,’ and ‘Gunning for the Buddha’ are like little narratives, stories, which I’ve never attempted before. Getting into the old Tin Pan Alley thing. People like Gilbert and Sullivan and the English music hall singers. Popular Victorian kitsch. Edwardian parlor songs.

Shriekback is often labelled an intellectual band.
It’s high time we burst that bubble.

Are you college-educated?
No. It was between making a choice of being in a rock’n’roll band or going to university.

Are you religious?
I don’t belong to a religion. I don’t have any faith, in that way. I do have a strong religious sense. It’s difficult to say without it sounding pretentious. I have a sense of awe of a kind of religious veneration or worship in the presence of what is around – people, mainly, the rush and energy of people and what they can do and build and keep going on and having babies. Just what it is to be alive. There’s definitely a force that moves us on in a mysterious way. I said to someone once that I feel about religion the way I felt about sex when I was 12. You know there’s something going on, but you don’t know what the fuck it is!

To read more about Shriekback's music and career, please visit their website (sign up for the newsletter for free downloads) and Tumblr. You can also join in our conversations over on Facebook. And, while you're at it, pick up a copy of their new album, Without Real String or Fish!

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

As seen on Shriekback's official Tumblr.

Filter Buried Treasure

Commodity Blaze

Dug up from the permafrost of punk-funk obscuria, ex-XTC and Gang of Four men explore the emotional life of monsters.  It’s alive…

Shriekback - Oil & Gold

ARISTA, 1985

Throughout the rock epoch, commentators have slagged record companies for the dilution of art in pursuit of profit.  Full marks to the Arista label, then, for releasing Shriekback’s Oil & Gold.  A chthonic portal into an inverse world of eat-or-be-eaten terror-funk, macabre amusements and terminal ambience, it would have sat heroically askance in the Phil Collins and Wham!-embracing charts of 1985.

Co-vocalist Barry Andrews looks back on an anomalous situation.  “There was a precedent in the Thompson Twins - also on Arista, also signed by the bloke who signed us - of a band turning from weirdo, uncommercial ugly ducklings into great big shiny ‘80s cash swans,” he reflects.  “I think Arista still held out a wispy hope that that would happen.  The cover idea was to make us look dreamy and great, but we ended up going for a gang of eels and feathers, which were props that became the main event.  Once again the record company were not totally made up.”shriekmojo3.png

Formed in 1981 in Kentish Town, the group’s core consisted of ex-XTC keys man Andrews, Gang Of Four bassist Dave Allen and Carl Marsh, former guitarist in squat funkers Out On Blue Six.  Having logged such unnerving dancefloor releases as My Spine Is The Bassline and Tench EP on the Y label, they’d signed with Arista for 1983’s Jam Science album.  After July ’84’s crisp single Hand On My Heart got to Number 52, they regrouped for a third LP, having been joined by drummer and Fairlight sampler operator Martyn Barker.

Andrews recalls a complicated genesis, commencing when the band took 20 rhythmic sketches to Rockfield studio in south Wales, with producer and future Hollywood soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer (who turned up three hours late, copping a £600 black cab bill after missing his train).  “Everybody was involved in a lot of groove-building and improvisation to get ideas rolling,” says Marsh.  “Then Barry and I would pick the ones we fancied and write lyric and melody ideas and structure them into songs, after which everyone would pitch back in with ideas to fill in all the gaps.”

After more session at Lillie Yard in west London, mixing took place in various studios in the capital and Bath.  It was not an over-harmonious process, remembers Andrews.  “There were a lot of major rifts,” he reveals.  “Our manager wanting to sack me, Carl was gearing up to leave, Hans getting sacked - we ended up mixing with Gavin MacKillop.  God we spent a lot of money.”


What emerged clearly thrived on the discord.  Opening with the febrile, spasming Malaria andtwo more feverish funk eruptions sung by Marsh, Shriekback’s strangely scientific world of primordial nature was revealed in its noisy, intoxicated splendour.  Drastic contrast was provided by This Big Hush, a phantasmal, possibly post-apocalyptic contemplation of ultimate extinction sung by Andrews, and similarly spectral pieces including the Cretaceous instrumental, Coelocanth.  Marsh cites lead single Nemesis - which name-checked 2000AD comic’s alien hero who battles Earthling superfascist Torquemada - as “the one that sums up all the themes and contrasts into one pop blast.  The animals and monsters, the tensions between instinct and intellect, nods to high art and comic books, and big laughs in dark places.”

Despite this, Marsh would leave the group after the album was completed, fulfilling press and photo duties but bailing before the touring could begin.  “I did feel that the band had become a bit of a two-headed monster with myself and Barry both fronting it and pulling in different directions,” he says.  “That said, I’m actually always surprised the album as a whole has such a unified feel.  I guess we had a common purpose after all.”

The group forged on, but despite all efforts including an arena tour with Simple Minds, Arista’s dream of an immaculate cash swan would prove chimerical.  Director Michael Mann, however, would add to the group’s cult cache by selecting Oil & Gold tracks for his movies Manhunter and Band of the Hand.  “He got the tenderness in the weirdness, I guess - the emotional life of monster,” muses Andrews.  The singer continued to lead Shriekback, with 1986’s Big Night Music a worthy companion piece to its predecessor, but would cease operations after 1992’s Sacred City.  The beast would not die, though, and four more releases down the line, Marsh was back in earnest for 2010’s sterling Life In The Loading Bay.  Now Barker is also returned; the three-man line-up is finishing a new album.**

Twenty eight years on, Oil & Gold remains visceral proof of what they’re capable of.  “The actual title came from a lyric that wasn’t used,” reveals Marsh.  “‘It’s as physical as oil and gold’.  It was the contrast between dark, sticky, clingy blackness and bright, hard clarity that seemed to encapsulate some of Shriekback’s extreme qualities.”

Ian Harrison

MOJO July 2013

**The new album referenced in Ian Harrison’s article is Without Real String or Fish, our thirteenth studio album, just released earlier this month.  You can learn more about it on the official website.  Please join us in the discussion on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for free music downloads and current Shriek activity.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback - Nemesis)

Happy Throwback Thursday, good souls!  I'm currently transcribing a rare article that looks back to the Shrieks' Oil & Gold and upload it before the end of the day.  In the meantime, enjoy this interview straight outta Belgium.

And if you have not yet procured Without Real String or Fish, what on Earth are you waiting for?  The new album is sonic brilliance that I'm certain will enchant you more with every listen.

Many of Shriekback's fans may be a bit cultish (pulls innocent face), but we know great music when we hear it. You can trust me when I tell you that Jam Science - the album released around the time this video interview was made - is an excellent album, and that Without Real String or Fish is an absolute triumph, proving the band are still mad musical geniuses.  Their ability to still provide relevant music that outshines their contemporaries is so evident, one cannot logically debate it.  Click their gateway logo to the left, to explore their store, and grab yourself a copy of WRSoF.

tinhuviel: (Nemesis)
This track-by-track entry is on Shriekback's Tumblr.  If you have not already done so, click the album cover here to purchase Without Real String or Fish, so you can enjoy 'Beyond Metropolis' at your leisure!

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‘Without Real String or Fish’
Track by Track: ‘Beyond Metropolis’ (BA)

I often think about whatever alchemy of mind and circumstance it is that produces that elusive Last Track - the one that appears when the album seems to be over.  When you think you’ve mined whatever seam of compressed life-experience, obsession and influence-cluster it is that songs come from and you’re not exactly content but applying a sort of willed gratitude that, at least, it’s not all total shite, and - a baby miracle - another tune comes into being that you really didn’t expect and that seems to have, more than the others, a character that didn’t seem to have much to do with you (a bit like your children).

I find these are the ones I tend to listen to for fun the most. They’re more like someone else did them.  Past examples include Sticky Jazz, Coelacanth, Exquisite Corpse and Hubris. On this album we got two: Beyond Metropolis and Soft Estate.  Both voyaging into new territory: with BM an alt-funk anthem in an aircraft hangar with shards of space junk flying out of the darkness at you.

The chorus being a Bowie-esque, aching sunset of chords encouching word clusters of outrageous audacity. There is - gasp- even a key change (yeah we can do that muso shit if we want) and a key change back.

The groove upon which it was built was a thing I wrote a couple of years back, I had sent it to Carl but he hadn’t - as of last summer, when my ‘we are now finishing this fucking record if it kills me’ protocol was in full effect - come up with anything for it. I had booked Stuart Rowe for the mixing; we had enough tunes; Carl had 3 songs on the album; God was in his heaven and the sun was sporting a roguish titfer. Then..

..in his fearful aspect as the demiurge of deadline bending, Carl sent a roughie I couldn’t refuse. At a stroke, the mixing (which was to have been a stately affair of considered tweaking and contemplative strolls around the elegant parterres and formal gardens of the Lighterthief estate) turned into the usual Shriekback panicked scramble as we struggled to bring the prodigal Beyond Metropolis to the same stage of development as its siblings.

Not to do so would have been unthinkable, of course: it had the word: ’Enchromosoniradiopolis’, fer crissakes.  The heart bows down.

Barry Andrews
19 March, 2015

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)
I thought it might be convenient, as well as give the album more visibility, if I created a You Tube playlist featuring the three official music videos for Shriekback's Without Real String or Fish. The URL for the playlist is below the embedded player here. Please share it with anyone and everyone!


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Also, if you want to buy the album, which I advise you to do, as it may be the best decision you make all year, click the festive Shriek logo to your right to be taken to Shriekback's online store. While you're there, click the music option, 'cos there are songs there to download, some of which are free!

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

Barry Andrews posted the video for Now Those Days Are Gone, from Shriekback's new album, Without Real String or Fish. The album can be purchased directly from the band on their website store, beginning at Midnight GMT on 4 March, 2015! Just a few hours, and your life could be filled with some of the best music you'll ever hear. Enjoy this wonderful Gen X anthem, and be sure to make note of the accompanying information, regarding the Shrieks and where you can find them on Teh Intarwebz.

From 'Without Real String or Fish,' Shriekback's 13th studio album. Available only from http://shriekback.com/store from midnight GMT tonight, 4 March!!

Visit: http://www.shriekback.com and sign up for the newsletter!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shriekback
Tumblr: http://shriekbackmusic.tumblr.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shriekbackmusic

Subscribe to Shriekback's You Tube Channels!

Barry Andrews - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo3E-T15XkSzg0reNcFalPw

ANAXATON6 - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJMkzOIkm9sqOjch00BhHBg

I'm also reposting the other videos the band have made available this week, but I'm cutting it, so please click to expand the entry.

They have such sights to show you )

If anyone has questions regarding any of this, please feel free to reach out. Also, if you would like to review the album, or know anyone who may want to take on such a task, let me know. The more response the band gets, the more music we will get to enjoy in the coming years.

Be sure to pass all this great music on to everyone and, as noted in the album announcement, send the band proof of your dissemination, and they will heap all manner of musical treasure on you.

Be pure, be vigilant, behave!

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

I screen-capped a portion of Shriekback's latest blog post on Tumblr. The entry concerns my favourite song on their new album, Without Real String or Fish, available for purchase beginning tomorrow, the 4th of March. If you don't get this album for any other reason, you need to get it for Beyond Metropolis. Just click the picture to go to the full blog entry.

Beyond Metropolis is an unprecedented feat of linguistic skill that is 100% not safe for work for anyone who suffers, as I do, from WGS - Wanda Gershwitz Syndrome. And that's all I'm saying about it.
tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

Today, Shriekback released a second video, this time for Carl Marsh's genetically-enhanced tune, Recessive Jean, from the band's new album Without Real String or Fish, which will be available starting 4 March.

From Shriekback's 13th studio album, 'Without Real String or Fish,' released on 4th of March, 2015 Visit: http://www.shriekback.com and sign up for the newsletter! Also be sure to take pics to show you're sharing this and other vids and news having to do with Shriekback and our new album. We're keeping a list of all of you who have so far participated, and will send a bulk mail out to everyone on the list at the end of our campaign to get the word out! Any pictures or screen cap that will get you on this list should be sent to shriekprods@outlook.com. To learn more about Shriekback's offer to fans who help promote the new album, go watch the announcement:

Click to connect:
There are two Shriek-related You Tube accounts to which you will want to subscribe.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

Good things
come to those
who wait.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.36.32 PM

The English proverb certainly applies to Shriekback’s thirteenth studio album, Without Real String or Fish.  Begun back in 2011, the band completed work on their latest offering on 1 November, 2014 – a wholesome day, indeed – much to the delight of their fans, both old and new.

Before I delve into the song-by-song, I must come clean by informing readers that I count myself among Shriekback’s fans, and the songs I can admit to not enjoying that much can be counted on one hand missing a couple of fingers.  Although I will do my level best to remain objective in writing this, my subjectivity should be considered when you read it.  For that reason alone, you should listen to the album, so you can judge for yourself.

Also, please bear in mind that any lyrics interpretation is mine alone, and could be completely off the mark.  Again, you should listen and judge for yourself.

That said, let’s go!

  1. Now Those Days Are Gone (Andrews/Marsh)

In the tradition and spirit of Shriekback’s 1985 magnum opus, Oil & Gold, and its first track, Malaria, Now Those Days Are Gone bombards the senses, leaving no doubt the band are not playing around.  The groove is deep and unrelenting, living up to the Shrieks’ decades-old agenda to create music to which people cannot resist dancing.  The combination of Rock and Funk, along with the rousing chorus, makes the song a solid anthem.  The lyrics sound not only autobiographical, speaking to Shriekback’s early days, they also convey a biography of the time in which most of us long-time fans came of age.  The chant-like call and response chorus hint at regret for an age that’s passed, but the accompanying music doesn’t let any potential navel-gazing progress go too far.  Sure, those days might be gone, the song seems to say, but we aren’t, and that is what matters.

Favourite lyric:

We were living in the future
Now those days are gone
We were kings, we were preachers
Now those days are gone
We had incubi and succubi
Now those days are gone
All these pleasures standing by
Now those days are gone

  1. The King in the Tree (Andrews, Barker, Marsh)

hapexamendiosBeginning with a clockwork carousel, the song seems to promise a tour through a deserted fairground containing the ghosts of revelries once indulged in happier times.  In typical Andrews fashion, the lyrics contrast with the music, and they conjured in my mind visions of the demiurge-like Hapexamendios, the insane architect of the First Dominion, in Clive Barker's Imajica. Regarding The King in the Tree, Andrews had this to say: [M]y image of a King in a Tree was King Sweeney of ancient Eire (from Flann O'Brien's 'At Swin Two Birds'), who was cursed for attacking a priest and went mad:  climbing into a tree where he stayed - reciting poetry and eating cresses.

The title character in the song also seems like a representation of the Green Man in modern times, invisible to most everyone who prefers to turn [their] face to the wall rather than see him and rescue him from us before we find ourselves in need of rescue from him. A wise warning indeed.

Favourite lyric:

Secrets words of the world are Engulf and Devour
(why is all this tyrannical shit in the soul of a flower?)

Note:  When listening to this portion of the song, pay attention to the music when Andrews sings “why is all this tyrannical shit in the soul of a flower?”  It mirrors the lyrics with an aural blossoming.  Brilliant.

  1. Soft Estate (Andrews, Barker)

Soft Estate weaves a delicate soundscape that will doubtless make the hearts of Big Night Music enthusiasts beat just a little faster.  The undulating melody dresses lyrics that encourage the listener to populate that soundscape with beasts and structures.  It is absolutely a song you would want to sing in your sleep, but it also one that promises waking dreams.  Andrews shines here, his command of language obvious, along with an uncanny ability to seamlessly meld poetry and music to create a unique visual for every listener.

Favourite lyric:

all along we were licking at the light
and clawing at the roots
and walking in the night
all startled at the sound
and reeling at the sight:
all the information:
limitless and liminal…

  1. Woke Up Wrong (Andrews)

Musically, this song is probably my least favourite, but the lyrics, with their play on names and words, more than compensate.  The conceits are all tongue-in-cheek, but for any linguaphile, they will also double as pure delight.  The second verse takes the wordplay a step further, hinting at a little bit of danger you think you can’t quite grasp, but it may be you really don’t want to…  Like so many Shriek songs, the mischief implied latches on to your subconscious, and that’s what you carry with you long after the song has ended.  A particular stand-out is the piano solo, sweeping the languid patterns of the rhythm along in a flourish.

Favourite lyric:

Barney Manglue with his running gags
(you wouldn’t want to do the kind of things he wants from you)
Butcher’s sawdust in a hundred bags
(needs that soak-up since he woke up).
Stretch the moment with his steely claw,
spread this second to infinity and more.
World-matter rattle, it’s a losing battle
(we always knew it had a tendency to get bad)

  1. Beyond Metropolis (Andrews/Marsh)

After days of mulling over how to best describe Beyond Metropolis, I finally settled on Etymological Chimera.  This song is a triumph in every way, and will more than likely drive lovers of language to smoke a cigarette after each listening.  The afterglow is that good.  I’m really not going to say much about Beyond Metropolis, because it would be unfair to spoil those who have not yet listened to it.  Musically, the song is what we’ve come to expect from the Shrieks:  intelligent, funky, and rhythmically perfect.  Lyrically, Carl Marsh makes a good case for adding words to the Scrabble dictionary that will let you win every single time.

Favourite lyric: All of them.

  1. Ammonia Tree (Andrews/Barker)

This song may be the perfect example of why so many of Shriekback’s fans are often also seekers of knowledge, long after they have completed their “official” education.  It is fraught with references to mythology, literature, history, theology, and philosophy, but also offers Easter eggs of a more personal nature, evidenced in a kind of gentle angst and nostalgia.

Framed within Mark Gowland’s fierce harmonica, and underscored with a quiet rhythm, both of which enhance the longing, and a certain level of regret, you can clearly hear in the lush tapestry of Andrews’ keyboard work, Ammonia Tree vividly takes you to the locations, both real and imagined, mentioned in the song.  It paints pictures and freezes moments you can take with you when drawing to a close.

It may be of interest that the last stanza of the lyrics is signature Andrews work, which focuses on a word or phrase – this time, it’s a phrase – that becomes a chant.  It’s very Shamanic in nature, using mnemonics to teach by rote.  This signature composition places Ammonia Tree in Shriekback’s family of songs that also includes The Reptiles and I and Hammerheads.

Favourite lyric:

When your own head bores you
with its bloody awful song
it wasn’t pretty wasn’t clever
and didn’t last for very long:
it felt like looking in the mirror
with all the strip lights on.
(might be a Stendhalian glory if you can only wait that long).
Is it holy intropection or wrestling futility?
In the quest for Truth and Beauty under the Ammonia Tree

  1. Recessive Jean (Andrews/Barker/Marsh)

In the hierarchy of my personal taste, Recessive Jean would rank #11 to Woke Up Wrong’s #12.  What I find most impressive about the song is the rhythm and bass that makes it sound like a descendant of Feelers.  That’s not to say it’s a rehash of the elder song; Recessive Jean is undeniably a force unto itself, but it carries that Feelers vibe, which will make many Shriek fans miss Dave Allen.

Carl Marsh is once again taking the lyrical and vocal reins in this one, growling about the clever homonym in the title.  The apocalyptic implications are deftly hidden within the jaunty melody, and is a reminder that nothing is ever what it seems when you’re listening to a Shriekback song.

Favourite lyric:

With a charm to disarm and a passion for harm
In so many ways, so many ways
A façade of calm can but raise the alarm
At the end of days, the end of days

  1. Horrors of the Deep (Andrews/Barker)

One of Shriekback’s more consistent trademarks is combining unease with beauty.  What could easily be the title of a chaotic Death Metal song delivers to you an ethereal vastness that overwhelms the senses.

Horrors of the Deep revisits Barry Andrews’ preoccupation with the sea in all its metaphorical glory.  The music alone is an aural ocean unto itself, all delicate ebb and flow.

As with Cormorant’s Sea Theory, Andrews offers up a meditation on the sea and how little we know about it, despite being born from it, carrying it within us, and eventually coming to rest within it, in some way or other.  The dust of our evolutionary ancestors can be found on ocean floors, and attempting to comprehend that is often unsettling, as such evidence forces us to come to grips with our impermanence when compared to the unimaginable immensity from which we came.  So, too, is our inability to understand mortality and what happens after.

Just as with death, the deeper the waters go, the less we know.  And it’s a human trait to fear the unknown.  That fear is etched into our DNA.  But just as with this song, if we dare to explore these arcane landscapes, we often find beauty and transcendence just under that layer of dread encoded within us all.

Looking at it from that perspective, the horrors woven into song become a living cradle instead of a watery grave.  Despite the horrors, in the end, it is illumination (or bio-luminescence) that wins the day.

Favourite lyric:

Sumptuously poised here in the foam
a watery quintessence
later pitifully trailing home alone
my bio-luminescence.    

  1. In the Pylons (Andrews)

An instrumental that may be a musical re-enactment of touring an Egyptian temple, In the Pylons begins subtly, but escalates into epic, hard-driving drum-fest. No proper Shriekback album can go outside without an instrumental to keep it warm.

  1. Man of Foam (Andrews)

The first thought that came to me upon the initial listen is that Man of Foam could be a lyrical look in on New Man from Go Bang! Elegant piano and shimmering synth carry the tune into Big Night Music territory, bridging a gap between the two albums in a very satisfactory way.

Favourite Lyric:

Oh Man of Foam
What you gonna do if he follows you home?
There will come a day
when the moth meets the naphthalene.

  1. Everything Like That (Andrews/Barker)

Prepare to worship at the Church of Shriekback when you’re tossed into the Gospel-driven Funk that is this baptismal fire they call Everything Like That.  If anyone needs proof that Shriekback are still making music, this is all the proof you need.  A culmination of Andrews giving a nod to an author whose books have been of inspiration and the long love affair the band have with deep and dangerous grooves.  Everything Like That is relentless in its invitation to be properly arranged in the construct of the song.  Lyrically, it is a very close to being as brilliant as Beyond Metropolis.  The bass line of the song is one of the best on the album, in my opinion.  Judge for yourselves; however, it may take more than one listen to hear everything that’s going on.  It’s a veritable fun park for Shriek fans who prefer their tuneage to threaten as much as delight.  It could break some hearts as well, though, because you can only imagine how a live performance of this song would be.

Favourite Lyric:

Under the time-lapse clouds
out on the screen of green
I want to see the monsters couple
with the wet machine.
You are my salad witch
that I would like to dress.
I do not lack the Wound.
I do not lack the Mess.
And Everything Like That.

I could have easily said “all of them” as I did with Beyond Metropolis; however, this particular stanza holds one of my personally favourite things about Shriek lyrics – words that usually would not be capitalised, but are, to make them seem Very Important,  but the reason or meaning behind it is never explained, and that makes my imagination go wild.  What is this Wound of which you speak, Shriekback?  No, don’t tell me, I have my own ideas.

  1. Bernadette (Andrews/Barker/Marsh)

A perfect end to a nearly perfect collection of songs, Bernadette is a lullaby that lets you get grounded after the manic Everything Like That.  It promises you good dreams and rocks you, overlooking a sprawling cityscape bathed in the twinkle of electricity, as the sun retires with you.

Bernadette‘s gait is akin to a metronome, used not only to maintain the see-saw magic of the melody, but to also hypnotise and assure you of your safety, even when the music spirals down as though the cradle has fallen.

Carl Marsh’s vocals and Barry Andrews’ piano give the song a stately air, a sort of ritual procession done each day as the sun begins to set on the place you call home.

Favourite lyric:

When beauty starts to fall apart
The savage eye and beating heart of darkness
Blessed Darkness.

WRSoFOverall, I cannot recommend Without Real String or Fish strongly enough. Since they returned to music with Having a Moment, I have always cited Cormorant as my favourite among the albums they’ve recorded in the 21st Century. That must change now. This is one of those Shriek albums that doesn’t just shine in its place among the recent outings; I have no doubt that Without Real String or Fish will stand the test of time, and find itself treasured by Shriekers old and new. From the opening song until the soft dissolve into Dark, it’s more than obvious that this was a labour of love.

And we are the winners.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

Here's the announcement vid with all the details and links, regarding Without Real String or Fish by Shriekback. I'm also copypasting the info.

Barry Andrews confirms release date for new Shriekback album, 'Without Real String or Fish' and then makes you an offer you can't refuse.

Be sure to take part for exclusive Shriekback freebies. Send entries to shriekprods@outlook.com.

Also, please subscribe to Barry Andrews' personal and secondary channels here on You Tube:

Barry Andrews - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo3E...

ANAXATON6 - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJMk...

Sign up for their newsletter at http://shriekback.com, and follow them on Facebook (@Shriekback), and on Tumblr and Twitter.

Tumblr: http://shriekbackmusic.tumblr.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shriekbackmusic

Please, by all means, spread the news, and be sure to get evidence that you've done so!

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

Calling all Shriekback Fans!

The new album is right around the corner and the band need
you to spread the festive news like warm butter.

Be sure to pass on everything and screen cap it.

Your involvement will not only help fund more music,
you will also enjoy exclusive freebies for your loyal service.

And who doesn't want that?

tinhuviel: (Hot Damn!)

There is not one person on this planet who has not experienced some kind of surreal moment at one time or another in their lives. Then there are the Fox Mulders of the world, and last night's Event was the final straw that made me certain I fall into the latter category. I got an email from Carl Marsh, a founding and current member of Shriekback, that included a picture of him taking a holiday break in Venice, and reading...

If the image is too small, click it to see the original size.
Picture was posted with permission.

Take a look at his choice of reading material. This obviously makes him a dubious individual of questionable character, which is exactly why he's one of my few Muses. It's like someone took my core influences, and divided them by 0, resulting in a photograph of an individual holding a book that would not exist had it not in part been for him. Even his name - Carl Marsh - is important, being the inspiration for the name of the trilogy's main character. Indeed, it is an image worthy of Schrödinger's Cat.

**EDIT** (7 March, 2015)
For reference purposes, in the event anyone is not sure of who Carl Marsh is, he's the one singing Recessive Jean in the latest Shriekback video.

If I tried to tell anyone about this, there would be no way they'd believe me. Since I have a picture, though, that should be proof; however, in this age of Photoshop, I wonder if there will still be people who think it's fake. Suffice it to say, if you'd been in my physical presence last night, you would have no doubt that the image is real. Besides, my Photoshop skills are shite.

Considering the other unbelievable goings on that I've attempted to document on the Cliffs of Insanity over the years, is it any wonder I feel like I'm being stalked by Rod Serling?


tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

From the band as seen on the Shriekback Tumblr blog:

Limited Deluxe Fish-Box Redux

ok then

after the (slightly startling) success of our Limited Edition Fishbox last week we were-it’s fair to say- innundated with the plaintive entreaties of anguished pilgrims (some of them long-standing supporters and friends) who had for any number of perfectly valid reasons, failed to respond in the less-than -24 hours that they (the boxes) took to sell out.

We, here at Shriekprods, were then presented with a something of a dilemna:

If we make some more, we would: please all those disappointed people,make us more moneyget our, it must be said, very beautiful art object to a wider audience

however, we might also make those who bought a limited edition feel legitimately short-changed since the object has become a bit less limited than at the time of purchase.

This is the sort of thing you do when you don’t have much previous in Record Company World. With hindsight, we would of course have Done Things Differently.


Click pic to continue reading!

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

Trouser Press (TP89) / September 1983

WHO: Carl Marsh (guitars/vocals), Barry Andrews (organ/vocals), Dave Allen (bass)

HOW:  In mid-1982, Dave Allen was casting about for musicians after leaving the Gang of Four. He found XTC/League of Gentlemen vet Barry Andrews and ex-Out on Blue Six-er Carl Marsh to be kindred spirits. Shriekback began as a sextet with drummer Brian Nevill, singer Linda Burns, and manager Linda Nevill, but halved during the Tench sessions, leaving the current self-contained trio. Last November they added drummer Martyn Barker and percussionist Pedro Ortiz for gigs.sounds

WHY:  Shriekback generates danceable tension through interaction of hot (bass/Linn drum machine bottom) and cool (chanted, cerebral lyrics and droning melodies). Andrews in particular gets incredible mileage out of simple sustained organ chords. The band’s songwriting methods are unorthodox at best: going into the studio with little more than some drum machine patterns, Shriekback emerged 19 days later with the finished Care album. Tunes range from deviant pop-funk ("Lined Up," with a vocal assist from Kirsty MacColl) to Enoic ambient ("Hapax Legomena").

DAVE ALLEN: "Whatever people get from [the music] is what’s right for them. And that’s fine with me. We’re not in a position to say, ‘Some are dance, some are weird, some are this, some are that.’ It’s really just whatever people experience from them."

By Robert Payes

Click to purchase the recent re-issue of Care and learn more about the Shrieks.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

Dave Henderson gets intensive care from Shriekback

Sitting in Barry Andrews' flat in downtown Kentish Town Carl Marsh and Dave Allen relax and try to get a word in as Barry, in his laidback veteranmanner, compares Shriekback in its rising stature to throwing pots and books that he's read.

Barry Andrews uses long words but he's sincere, he believes in Shriekback as do his two cohorts. The room is airy and almost a million miles away from the group's new LP Care. There's a kind of urgency there, a plethora of ideas busting to get out and because of their diversity constantly struggling. It's hardly surprising really, after all, they all come from very strong and varied musical backgrounds. With pasts of varying stature Shriekback's first LP was an expressive and spikey start. Months in the studio - due to the high quality publishing deal the trio had secured - gave them the freedom to work as they wanted and throw ideas around.

"There was always a deadline looming in the future but nobody really knew when," forwards Carl.

Dave continues: "It took quite a while to get it onto vinyl because we didn't have any real commitment to getting anything done. In the end it was really just a summing up of that period."

Loose and rough as Tench was, it still didn't give anything away. The ideas were there, interest created, but no real statement of intent hit you in the middle ear. With 'My Spine is the Bassline' winning new friends for them, had they purposely attempted to take a more commercial tack with their music?

Dave: "It wasn't at all intentional. It just appeared to be going in a funkier direction and we just followed it that way. With the new album we just continued with that attitude and followed where it led. We don't sit down and write songs, we built them in the studio and we just travelled along the paths they took us."

Barry: "When we did Tench, there was a thing about not doing things that were commercial, but we always wanted it to communicate so that people could play it and get into it. We say that we didn't have to live with making music that was rubbish just so that we could live off it, we realised we could actually put out brilliant music and live off that."

But if Tench was inaccessible - it wasn't, but it was a lot less, say, mainstream (pun) than their later work - has their recent work been a conscious effort to get across to a wider audience?

Dave: "People haven't adapted to us. We know what we want to do and they're getting that from us. They haven't just clicked to Shriekback, we've set the ball rolling by getting our house in order, by accepting the fact that you don't have to sell yourself short to sell records and make money. There's no sort of secret message or hidden thing there. What we want is for people to play the album and for them to get the honesty and the communication from us. It doesn't have to be an album of potential hits and in the same way we didn't sit down and say 'Let's do "Lined Up" as a commercial single so that people will buy the album and hear all the weird shit', it just wasn't all that."

The honesty shines through in Shriekback, their unorthodox techniques allow them to come up with things that, if premeditated, would lack the power that they have. Their instruments are extensions of their bodies, claims Barry in a nother reeling cascade of anecdotes, and you can see this in their music.  It's personal, tribal even.  The inner sleeve bears witness with a collection of aids and accomplices written like's their gang, their team.

Carl: "That's just like an acknowledgement of how it works."

And the music too has the spirit of an organised outfit, which is dispersed through numerous people's attitudes and characters. And the tribe was in full flow on Riverside last year when with anarchic precision Shriekback performed a couple of songs.

Carl: "If we'd thought about what we were going to do on Riverside we would have made arbitrary conditions about what we could or couldn't do instead of just doing it. You have to make rules around the things that matter, not the little things."

But this trendy-right-place-at-the-right-time thing doesn't quite fit into Shriek-think.

Barry: "Maybe you'll get it right and the things that you choose to recycle are trendy that week, but that's much less important than the actual degree of conviction and commitment that you actually put into getting things over."

Carl: "It's like we've found when we've been playing live. What you play doesn't matter it's the way you do it, so the songs that we do are structured to express that."

The whole area of being hip is like a recurring virus. In whatever mode you place yourself, the onus will shift within a matter of weeks or even hours. In some cases it can take years to transcend the petty bracketing.

Dave: "I get the feeling at the moment that anything is honest and coming from a real love is definitely not hip. Some people, like Sun Ra and the jazz greats, are allowed to be really close to the earth and won't hear anything said against them. At the moment everything has to be really trivial and it has to come from hearing the right twelve inch this week and trying to copy it. It's like with Sun Ra if you've served your time and done 40 albums then you get your Golden Honesty Award."

With a mere one and a half albums under their belt Shriekback have got quite a hefty trek in front of them. As with all outfits of their structure they will inevitably go in and out of fashion at the drop of a hat. The thing that matters about Shriekback is that they are open to influence. Their music is a hybrid of their moods and experiences and for that it will always be fresh and intriguing.

As Dave confided later, they'd "love to release lots and lots of material but we would feel that we were swamping the market".

I'd love to see that happen as Shriekback are like a magazine rather than a group, a constant ongoing entertainment. A collection of people - fluctuating in numbers - who may not be hip but are always approachable.

Click the button to purchase Care and learn more about Shriekback.     shriekbutton

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

Smarter than the Average Bare

Some words give people the willies. The worst of these is ‘Love’. Many will cross the road to avoid it, more sit still and squirm.

Caught with its trousers down too many times, ‘Love’ has lost its dignity, rolls round the tongue like melting chocolate. Who will restore it to its rightful place?

Shriekback will. Already they can talk of ‘Love’ with nary a trace of a blush. Dertermined to be honest, Shriekback have stripped down to fundamentals. What could be more fundamental than love?

Dave Allen (ex-Gang of Four), Barry Andrews (ex-XTC) and Carl Marsh (ex-Out On Blue Six) formed Shriekback to drop their defences. Tired of rock and roll and all the myths that sail in her, they set about establishing their own priorities. Quickly signing a publishing deal with EMI that gave them a great deal of free studio time, they set about discovering a way of playing together. Their first min-LP ‘Tench’ took 5 months to record and was as tense as its title. Nothing quite clicked, the edges were interesting.

Last July, the three signed a pact, a written document titled ‘The Seven Pillars of Shriekback’. Seven rules that commit the three to one another, to love and to energy. Since then, the sailing has got plainer every day.

"When we began," explains Dave, "we had all this free studio time in which to experiment with one another. It was interesting, but we lacked a direction and a purpose. If there’s no framework, you can just storm out in an argument and destroy the whole thing. We decided we were to carry on, we needed to make a commitment to one another. We’d run out of studio time and were moving into rehearsal rooms. It’s easy to keep things together in a studio but a tiny little rehearsal room is another story. So, we wrote up the ‘Seven Pillars’."

The signing of the document coincided with Shriekback’s discovery of a direction. Working upwards from a rhythm track, they made ‘My Spine Is The Bassline’ and discovered they’d almost made a disco track! Now they’ve just released an album, ‘Care’, recorded with ease in 19 days, and a single, ‘Lined Up’, which deserves to be one of the club hits of the year. Shriekback are onto something.

"The aim of this group is to communicate," explains Barry Andrews. "The bottom-line of what there is to communicate to people is love, a sense of relatedness to each other that is expressed through energy. We’ve all put up with not communicating, sitting on the tube, staring at the ads. It doesn’t rate. What is really satisfying is communicating, sharing something with everybody else."

Shriekback are determined to avoid the rock and roll treadmill. They work hard but it doesn’t feel like work. They no longer distinguish between work and play. They’ve come out of the studio and found that people love them live. So much so, Barry Andrews finds it frightening. Without the barriers of the rock and roll pose, he can feel the brunt of his audience’s feeling.

"To be close to anybody is frightening. It’s particularly frightening to be close to a room full of people you’ve never met before. Not that anyone is going to point a gun at you but when you fully engage in communication, the first thing you hit is fear. Sitting on the tube, you see the blind terror in people’s eyes, the terror of being touched."

Shriekback have worked hard to organize their set-up, to take responsibility for their own group. They want to do away with safety nets.

"The safest thing to do, is not to do it wholeheartedly," explains Barry. "It’s easy to blame the gear, or the roadies, or each other. It’s quite comfortable not to take responsibility. With this group, all three of us are doing that. We arrive early for sound-checks! We’re trying to keep things clear."

Vulnerability is Shriekback’s backbone. They aren’t troupers, determined that the show must go on, nor macho men, hiding behind muscle.

"I spent a long time hiding behind things," says Dave. "Now it’s time to come out." Gradually three shy men are coming out of their shells.

"We’re English," laughs Barry. "That means there’s times when we’re really afraid of each other. We’re all normal white English boys, we get embarrassed. But we’re getting through. The actual turning point for me was when we stopped blaming each other when things went wrong."

Shriekback are delighted to discover they don’t have to lie. The night before this interview they played Heaven in London. When bouncers started beating up their mates at the front, they stopped playing.

"I felt really good we could stop, then start again. We were so glad we could handle it. When we did start again, the crowd was more behind us. Stopping onstage is almost suicidal! But why pretend? Admitting that things go wrong is really exciting: you stop acting the powerful figure onstage. We’re not different from other bands, we’re just becoming more and more aware of being human. Men don’t easily admit to making mistakes. It’s such a relief when you do!"

Shriekback make records and they play live. They treat the two processes quite differently. Live, they play with a drummer and a percussionist, in the studio they use a Linndrum. Live, they are fiercely percussive, in the studio they are more curious, more open to moods. This is how it should be.

"I’d recommend you forget you’d ever heard our records when you see us live," says Barry. "The way we see the recorded songs is like covers of other people’s songs. That gives us the right to maul them. What’s appropriate live isn’t necessarily so in the studio.

Carl agrees. "We could take loads of gear and lots of singers and reproduce the record. But what’s the point? You wouldn’t even have the sleeve."

Their path will get more open and more curious; Shriekback have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Record Mirror
April 9, 1983

For more information and

to purchase Care, please click.

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

Lifted without regret from Shriekback's official Tumblr

BOSTON - The idea at first was not to play out; Shriekback, like the first edition of Public Image, Ltd., would simply be a studio group, leaving Gang of Four in the midst of an American tour. For Allen, it was too much of everything: too much drugs, too much drink, too much pressure.

Allen, who cheerfully says he is “on the wagon - permanently,” considered gigs dehumanizing: ”We said gigs are awful and they can’t work.” This was in early ‘81. A year and a half later, they played their first gig.

"It was gonna be hard work. It was a matter of transferring all this [studio] stuff to the stage," notes Allen, talking about the decision to make it live.

"It was a matter of fucking blind fear too," chips in keyboardist Barry Andrews.

So Shriekback - which in addition to Allen and Andrews includes guitarist/singer Carl Marsh and touring percussionists Pedro Ortiz and Martyn Barker - now has it both ways: they released their debut EP, Tench, on Y Records last year, have a new LP, Care, out on Warner Bros., and they’re enthusiastic about road work.


What makes these gigs work?

"A willingness to communicate," says Allen. "Tonight, for instance, was a good example of accepting that the audience wants to join in. A lot of gigs I’ve been to you’re left out. The other night in New York I went to Simple Minds and there was no attempt whatsoever to get me to join in."

"There’s some sort of interaction between us and the people," adds Andrews. "It’s surprising how few bands do that."

Shriekback is not the most obvious lot, not the latest happy-time English white funk band. Songs are written around a drum track. Allen adds the bass lines and the songs grow from there. Vocals - “anti-vocals” Marsh calls them - are often mixed into the middle, not over the top.

"There is a rule of thumb that all lead vocals have to be treated in a certain way because they’re vocals," says Marsh wryly. "Not like a little wanky percussion part that you can do what you want with. Voices have to be treated with some respect."

"Lined Up" is Shriekback’s catchiest tune (from melodic standpoint), but like New Order’s "Temptation," it’s involved as much with mood as it is with hooks. The rest of Care is even more moody. Shriekback favors sharp, heavy bass lines, chantlike vocals, the occasional textural synth or guitar swirl. Restrained, but tense; spacious. Shadowplay you can dance to.

"I’d kind of like it to be like a wildlife park," offers Marsh. "You wander around and there are all these things there that are diverse and beautiful and grotesque sometimes. You can draw the conclusions you like."

- Jim Sullivan for Record / August 1983

Care has been reissued on both CD - for the first time! - and limited edition vinyl LP.

Please visit our website and store to learn more about, and purchase Care, as well as find other great albums, tunes, and information.

Time is short, so don’t delay!


tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

Click on the album cover and go vote in Shriekback's Very Important Petition.

Here are some reasons why:

1) You appreciate excellent music with the best sound quality possible.
2) You are an audiophile who knows the value of vinyl.
3) Being a part of the Shriekback tribe means your vote matters to us.
4) You are keen to further the work of musicians whose music has touched you in some way.

Please encourage your pals and loved ones to go vote as well. The Shrieks are aiming for 1000 signatures before considering making vinyl available.

tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

Shriekback have made available for pre-order their 13th studio album, Without Real String or Fish, in a limited edition box, with only 50 available. To learn more about it all, just click the picture. If you're like me and already know it's going to be brilliant, better dash to the store now, 'cos people are already laying claim.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

In the liners for the Care CD, Carl Marsh refers to this performance of Despite Dense Weed.

"A track that sounds like it's prowling through a mangrove swamp and unlike anything else around at the time. We played this on TV with everyone huddled on the floor, sticks clattering, like an anxious commitee meeting in the rainforest."

If you haven't ordered the CD, click the pic to take care of that:

While you're on their site, be sure to sign up for their newsletter. Also, you should follow Shriekback through the far-flung social media wilderness, in order to keep up with them. As Things tend to happen, an announcement/post/update/you-name-it may very well pop up at one site, but not another, so it's strongly advised to link to all the places online.  Here are the relevant locales:




tinhuviel: (Can't Stop Writing)

It’s 2015 and what have we got?

Well, quite a few things, as it goes.

Last year saw a reboot of Shriekback’s long-dilapidated online profile with an actual working website -where you could actually buy stuff- and a blog on Tumblr (heady cyber-shit indeed!).

And, with great relief, we completed our 13th studio album -after a long drawn out gestation (it was begun in 2011!).

Read more here by clicking on these friendly faces.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

Last night, the Mother Unit knocked on my door and said "mail call!"  She came in and handed me a mail order catalog and a small white lined mailer with a customs label on it.  I knew right away what I was in for, but I took a deep breath and told myself to be patient and wait for tomorrow.

Well, tomorrow is now today, and I opened that bad boy up to find the shiny new Care CD by Shriekback!  I must say, I'm delighted with the album, now that it has finally established its rightful place in world of Compact Disc.  And I'm even more thrilled with the fact that it boasts among the bonus tracks, my favourite song by the Shrieks, 'Despite Dense Weed', along with the story behind how this malignant serenade came into being.  I've posted the story here before, as well as posting on You Tube when I uploaded the song from another collection.  But, I'm sharing again, because no one has the power to stop me.

This - if I may make so bold - little gem was only previously released on the Y Records Xmas album, which may not have found the Total Market Penetration it doubtless deserved, so here it comes again. Inspired partly by the novel Riddley Walker (Shriekback required reading) and also by an Acid experience in a forest in which Vivienne Kent and myself experienced being predators of a blood-thirsty, lupine/vampirish kind, and, from the top of a tree contemplated a cosy little family out for a stroll with a view to slaughter and dismemberment (their only possible use). Ah, great days - and they still haven't found the bones (joke).  Viv plays murderous viola on the end bit and the Tiny Green Garden Sticks rear their vicious little heads again.

I left the CD on the bed while I went to get some water.  When I returned to my room, this is what I beheld.


Ah, Smidgen...  She truly is my totem and spirit guide.  She knows good stuff when she sees it.  The digipak is obviously delicious.  Thankfully she did no harm to it, and even posed for a second picture.  She looks like a spokesmodel, so I have dubbed her the Shriekback SpokesManx. There's no denying like draws like.  Shriekback are brilliant and take pretty pictures, and Smidgen is the same way.  This pic should be a billboard, I swear to Christ.


I may have to cajole her into modeling with other Shriek albums.  It could become a Thing.  With the Shrieks dabbling in forbidden aural alchemy, combined with Smidgen's laissez faire attitude regarding the paparazzi, and the sentient presense of the Internet, anything is possible. While I'm working at evoking a feline pout out of the Shriekback SpokesManx, you should meander over to the Shrieks' website and buy a copy of Care while you still can.  All these reissues are limited editions so, if you don't act now, you may end up lurking in the dark corners of eBay, hoping for the chance to purchase a used copy at some godawful price that helps the band in no perceivable way.  If you're unsure you want the album, allow me to direct your attention to a version of one of the songs on the CD, entitled 'Feelers.'

It's sure to wrap around you like celestial swaddling.

Take CARE!

Dec. 18th, 2014 04:05 pm
tinhuviel: (Shriekback - Nemesis)

After years of waiting, Shriekback's followup to their debut album Tench is finally available in CD format! Also, a remastered version of the album on vinyl will be available after the first of the year. Click any picture below to be taken to the band's store for information. And please this info on to all your friends and loved ones!

caremail 10408110_10152970858657953_3837016519418325820_n1920193_10152970835257953_6194754069841792550_n

tinhuviel: (Augury)
As Shriekback emerge as the pioneers of Mutant Funk, David Marx raps with the subversive supergroup

SHRIEKBACK: OH POTENT concoction of the boyish Barry Andrews, a sensitive Carl Marsh, and the compassionate Dave Allen.  Their collective experience span the likes of XTC, Out on Blue Six, and the Gang of Four.  Together they weave the complicated fabric of their music by pulling threads through a variety of sounds and textures, and then utilising and building upon the naked framework of rhythm to create their tapestry.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)

As any Shriekback fan will tell you, this is a big deal!
Thirty years after it's initial release on Arista Records, who never bothered to issue it on CD, then later discontinued it, making it an extremely rare, difficult album to find, Jam Science is now available through the Shrieks' website store. The album is remastered, with included bonus tracks. It is packaged with the never-before-released recording of the famed Hatfield concert. There are only 500 of them so, if you want one (and, trust me, you do, whether you know it or not), you need to click the picture to buy it.

tinhuviel: (Dark Eyes)
Everyone needs to go sign this. It will show people that there are others in the world who support musical excellence, which seems to be an endangered species these days. Go sign it, please! No obligation is necessary.

tinhuviel: (Landon Dunlevy)
Here is your chance to be Musical Crusader! First off, I have to say again that Shriekback are coming out with a plethora of out-takes, alternative track, and what not. Here's what Barry announced in the Shriekback Facebook Page.

9 hours ago
BA's two solo albums 'Stic Basin' and 'Haunted Box of Switches' as well as Shriekback's 'Sacred City' will soon be available to pre-order
on itunes. Release (download only) on Aug 31st.

In the meantime, here's a list of other Shriek-related goodies which can be on Shriekback's Facebook page that will be coming to us in August. released. Please let us know what you'd like to see..

'And, if I Refuse?'
(BA very early stuff: post XTC, pre Shrieks demos)
'Midnight Calliope'
(mostly BA film and dance incidental music)
'Demonstration/Neu in Berlin'
(acoustic (94-6) Shrieks outatkes from Naked Apes..)
'Hatfield Live'
(pro recording of 84? gig. Hooligan stuff.)
'Secrets of the City'
(BA and MB tunes for dance piece 95)
'Two Live Shows'
(very early bootlegs of -er -two live shows in UK)
(outatkes, demos ad rarities from the early 80's)
'Having a Moment'
(Shriekback's mini-album from 2002)

(thanks James Burke for some titles and comping)"

Here's a sample of the some of the songs that will be on 13.

You may also want to follow their Twitter/Facebook/and Tumblr (tumblr is famous for pics, if that's your thang.

Please spread the good word that all in the world is not lost as long as these guys make music.

Watch this page, as well as Barry's Tumblr (@shriekbackmusic)
tinhuviel: (Shriekback - Nemesis)
Lovely, lovely preview of what's soon to come! Pass it along. It deserves to be spread like warm butter.

tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)
Here's a sampling of what the new Shriekback album is going to sound like. The finished product will boast 14 songs. FOURTEEN! I am so excited about this. It sounds awesome so far!

The songs heard are as follows:

'Now These Days Are Gone' (Carl Marsh)
'Recessive Jean' (Carl Marsh)
'King in the Tree' (Barry Andrews)
'And Everything Like That' (Barry Andrews)
'Man of Foam' (Barry Andrews)
'Bernadette' (Carl Marsh)

I'll definitely be updating here, as more news follows.
tinhuviel: (Shriekback Logo)
I yoinked this gem from eBay. I thought I had all the Shriek vinyl, but apparently not. I probably still don't, so I'll be on the prowl. Anyways, here are the liners that are included in the special 45 RPM, all in lower case as it is on the sleeve. The words are Carl Marsh's who, I have discovered over the past few months, is just as eloquent as Andrews in his own right. Love for language is abounding, and I so appreciate it. It's one of the things that just flips my pancake regarding the Shrieks.

greetings from shriekback, jam scientists and arista recording artistes. you will find most of our coloured information in the form of records and tapes containing rhythmic music. the following is offered as introduction or enhancement. here goes prose.
shriekback was originally conceived as a short term project by dave allen after a traumatic departure from the gang of four. through a network of mutual friends he met barry andrews, moonlighting from (or rather around) his own group 'restaurant for dogs'. and myself, carl marsh, stepping from the wreckage of chic squatsters 'out on blue six.' in a lengthy test of endurance, we set about recording the mini-lp 'tench' in emi publishing's demo studio, kpm in denmark st. although originally a six-piece, with drummer brian nevill, singer emma burnham and singer/manager linda nevill, the filtering trinity of art and laziness and commitment eventually left the three of us with a shriekback of enormous potential. at a historic meeting on 28th july 1982 we coalesced our intentions to raise shriekback to its next level of life.
recording 'tench' had established certain working methods, with some new filters: the facts (what is), curiosity (what if) and chance (what the hell). in practice, this meant building upward from a thythmic base (tape loops, drum loops, live drums and - most frequently - linndrums), adding overdubs until a vocal gave line and structure enough for the completion of the track. in conjunction with the enthusiasm of our record label, dick o'dell's y records, the dynamic refinement of such structured spontenaiety enabled us to write, record and mix our second album 'care' in 19 days, still in the 16-track kpm with the spirited support of engineer ian caple. would that the world could run as this, i sigh until today...
and then shrieks? the only way out is up. we accelerated through 1983 with the additional catalyst of public performance: from a nervous and private start in a charing cross cellar in late '82, the three of us and the formidable rhythmic base of martyn barker (drums) and pedro ortiz (percussion) put the shriek on london's ica on new year's eve '82, britain in general, new york in particular, most of europe, a skinny trail across america to l.a. and back to g.b. by early summer, all siny and hungry for a new lp.
the artefact that is 'jam science' was originally conceived as both a tighter harnessing of and an expansion from the forces that shaped 'care,' with an end result bigger and brighter, less diverse perhapse but more clear and physical. "so much for lucid theory." the short term result of such hard focus was the collapse of the existing structures! internally, the essence of shriekback had outgrown the minimal consumption of time and technology that had previously supported it in the studio, and the external manifestation of this was y record's inability (as an independent body) to support shriekback in the world. in short, we'd outgrown the framework we'd built ourselves to function within...
which is why this concise conceit reaches you on arista's manilla. however obvious, this step has not been easy. it has cost time, money and more. it has also confirmed the resolve of july 1982 that shriekback's music is...ours and yours. completely. shriekback is moving faster but is simultaneously more open! harder! streamlined! a major label, management (great ltd. who also handle blankcmange)...all their resources are ours and ours theirs, from the drums to the sky.
talking of which, shriekback is proud to announce that long-term drum collaborator martyn barker is henceforth and forever a shriek proper; the geometry alters as of now.
and so we shriek into summer, preaching 'jam science': heady rhythmic swirl polished by 12" remix and reggae man paul 'groucho' smykle...and the drinks are spiked with 'hand on my heart': trust not to innocence with Shriekback biting your ear and popping your shirt buttons...

I'm cutting this post because of the size of the picture, showing the front and back of the record and sleeve. I wanted to keep it large enough for people to see the details.

shriek without end )

August 2017

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