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Naked Apes & Pond Life

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Album Review

Eight years after Shriekback resurfaced briefly to release Sacred City and promptly vanished from view once again, a new album made its surprising appearance on an Australian label. Apparently recorded in 1995, Naked Apes & Pond Life features longtime Shrieks Barry Andrews (credited as lead vox & accordion, though some of his familiar synth work can be heard as well) and Martyn Barker (on his usual assortment of percussion). The lineup is rounded out by Lu Edmonds — who played guitar on Oil and Gold, but is credited with saz and cumbus here — and new members Simon Edwards and Mark Raudva. Much of Naked Apes & Pond Life finds Shriekback playing a sort of twisted world music that resembles the organic/electronic mix of Big Night Music, but adds a variety of exotic instruments and percussion. It makes for intriguing listening, and while Andrews still isn't much of a singer, his lyrics remain smart and provocative. The vocal compositions are interspersed with short, mostly electronic instrumentals. This album is more an interesting footnote to Shriekback's career than a major entry in their catalog, but it has enough good material that fans will find it worth seeking out.


Formed: 1982 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Shriekback is not an easy band to classify. They borrowed heavily from funk but had a very different agenda; their music was more suited for contemplation than for parties. They combined synthesizers and drum machines with throbbing bass lines and unorthodox vocals to evoke a primordial world where the line between human and animal was blurred. The title of their fourth album, Big Night Music, might be the most succinct summation of their work: Shriekback's music was always an appropriate soundtrack...
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Naked Apes & Pond Life, Shriekback
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