Perfect marriage between difficult-arty music and dance pop
D. H. Richards | Silver Spring, MD USA | 09/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Picture this, 1985, fall, a massive "kegger" rush party at a frat house. I am an 18 year old freshman and "Nemesis" comes on over the sound system and EVERYONE rushes to the dance floor. I could hardly believe my eyes, but I could NOT believe my EARS! The sound coming from those speakers was unlike ANYTHING I had ever heard. A mixture of funk, Eno's ambient found sounds, rock, jazz and world music all rolled up into a catchy dance floor filler. And the rest of the album is even better.
The Fish Below the Ice - haunting, Everything That Rises Must Converge- another floor filler like Nemesis. This Bi gHush and Faded Flowers are quiet "storms" that have more energy packed into their hushed tones than a whole album of Van Halen. This is the perfect marriage between "difficult" arty music and dance pop. You can dance all night to most of this or sit and listen on headphones, taking a trip without breaking any drug laws. Fans of Talk Talk, Kate Bush, heck even Funkadelic will love this album!"
An example of what was good about 80's music.
Gregory Mills | Berkeley | 09/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first exposure to Shriekback was seeing them open for Simple Minds. My friend and I walked in mid-set and we both were stunned with what we saw. It was like Fela Kuti being covered by Kurt Weill. Eclectic, beautiful music that had a very explicit menance. Needless to say, Jim Kerr's flaccid Bonoisms were eclipsed. We were tempted to walk out on Simple Minds, having decided that we had seen all we were going to see that night.I rushed out to get the LP the next day, struggling mightily to remember the wacked out melody of the "Parthenogenesis" song. What I found was the band was almost weirder on LP than on stage. The music is Worldish without getting all Peter Gabriel sappy on you [butt]. Their song lyrics, while not exactly narrative, follow their own self-contained logic and mine the same tropes over and over again. But it never gets boring. The alien landscapes they depict are so lush with sexed up lizards and menancing linguists that you never quite get your bearings. Great, trippy stuff."
B. Lynch | LA CA | 12/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Oil and Gold" was the first album I ever loved. It mixes so many genres and emotions that I don't know how anyone could not help but fall in love with it.
This is a decidedly dark CD, without any hint of upbeat bubbliness. The only song that could be considered upbeat is "Everything That Rises Must Converge" still has a strange darkness to it, despite being a perfectly danceable tune. "Nemesis" is huge, over the top, and beautifully evil song.
While these giant, thumping tracks are the meat of the album the ballads are what flesh it out. Easily the best is "Faded Flowers" which is in stark contrast to many of the tracks around it. It is a minimalist duet that has masterfully been worked in among the other heavier songs and manages to only enhance the flow.
If you want to hear one of the best albums of all time, this is it. It is near flawless in production value and musicianship."
Shriekback's Artistic Pinnacle
SandmanVI | Glen Allen, VA United States | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When your band is the offspring of Gang of Four and XTC people are going to expect that artistically you can bring the pain so to speak. Without a doubt, Shriekback could bring it. One could argue that Shriekback didn't have the consistency over its lifespan of its parent bands, but for at least 2 moments (this album and 'Big Night Music') it clearly outshined them both. Folks may wonder who Shriekback really was: the sweaty funk of "My Spine (Is the Bassline)", the disposable party-pop of 'Go Bang!' or the lurid alien soundscapes traversed in their more introspective moments? Perhaps I can't answer that question, but I think they will be best remembered for the latter. 'Oil and Gold' contains flashes of the funk but is full of the dark introspection. It stands as their crowning achievement.
The disc kicks off with the fat bass and beats kicking in "Malaria" and "Everything That Rises Must Converge". "Fish Below the Ice" then segues into a slower, moodier section highlighted by "This Big Hush" and the poignant, sensual & brilliantly minimalist "Faded Flowers". The entire section of the album bristles with a quiet, smoldering intensity that the listener senses just has to be released otherwise self-destruction is imminent. Luckily the pressure is all released on the potent dance masterpiece "Nemesis"... a.k.a. the song that you know even if you've never heard of Shriekback. This is as ominous as a dance song can get outside of eletronic industrial. The shrieking chorus of high-pitched female vocals coming over the top of Barry Andrews' baritone makes the vibe almost an orgy of sound and fury. The underrated song here, even by fans, is the Middle Eastern tinged "Hammerheads". The melody is ensnaring to the ear and slithers to and fro like a snake charmer's tune. The album exits with the ambient, chill-out wonder of "Coelocanth", a mysterious slab of subtle shifting tones that make you feel as though you are watching this ancient rare creature navigate the currents in the ocean's deepest, darkest recesses.
Overall a work of extreme originally that manages to be pleasing to the hear while maintaining its experimental edge. The same could be said for 'Big Night Music' too, but not for a gimmick album like 'Go Bang!'. You won't hear many bands in the new-wave retro craze dropping the Shreikback name but they wield greater influence than is realized. Perhaps in time they will get their due."