"For the casual browser looking for an 80s flashback, you're better off with the two excellent (and much differently flavored) albums Oil and Gold and Big Night Music. If you already own both of them (like myself) and are looking for something different, The Dancing Years is definitely the way to go. Some wacked out (and I mean that in a good way) remixes and some particularly inspired and energetic live performances of Shriekback classics have made this an immediate hit with myself and my friends. My favorite tracks are the definitely the live ones, especially Feelers (there's nothing better than a sexy baseline and some freaky synthesizers) and the frenetic live version of Hammerheads that leaves me breathless every time I hear it. Unlike the other reviewer, I found it fascinating to follow the band member "flowchart" and learn where some of my favorite musicians wandered off to. I was also delightfully surprised to notice artists that I've become familiar with through other musicians (the Partridges & Sara Lee, whom I believe have been on more than one Indigo Girls album, for instance) were originally involved with this bizarre, eclectic and pioneering dance band from the eighties! For any Shriekback fan (come on folks, I know you're out there somewhere), this is a must have."
SandmanVI | 08/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"FennFenn has it all wrong, I'm afraid....the tracks on this CD are not 'new' - but predsominantly alternate mixes and/or live recordings of the Shriekback Big Band of the mid-to-late '80s...when they were truly at their performing peak. If you saw them on tour in the USA in '85 either alone or with Simple Minds....you'll know exactly what I mean. This was not a 'thrown' together collection by any means and there are indeed a couple of re-recordings done by Barry Andrews - but lovingly and painstakingly done."
Some Bands Can't Be Captured Well in Compilations
SandmanVI | Glen Allen, VA United States | 06/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Shriekback is one of those hard-to-nail-down bands that is very difficult to capture in a compilation. I've seen critics try to call them "indie funksters" but that isn't what I feel at all when listening to precious, nuanced songs like "Faded Flowers" or "Coelocanth"... you? Personally I think that the best way to get to know them is just to buy 'Big Night Music' and 'Oil and Gold' and be done with it. If you are a completist then you may want this comp for its alternate versions and mixes. However, for the casual fan, beware that these are not the original versions and my personal opinion is that nearly every one is infinitely inferior to its respective original. Having said that, the choice of songs is actually not too bad. They do capture a decent cross section of slower mood tracks and upbeat dance/funk numbers. Had they just used the original versions this would have been great as an introduction. Instead it's best used as a collection of remixes and new versions for those who already have the other versions."
Bad remixes of good songs
Eric Tittley | Baltimore, MD United States | 05/22/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The original songs are good....no....great!
The versions on "The Dancing Years" are bad.
I'm not sure if there are even 'dancable'.
Along with "Go Bang", a discerbable low point
in the history of Shriekback."