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Life In The Loading Bay


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Album Review

This wasn't supposed to happen. By all rights, Shriekback — who began in the early-‘80s post-punk era and achieved their greatest level of fame during that decade — should have been a spent force by now. Instead, they've made one of the finest albums of their career, some 30 years in (albeit with a hiatus or two along the way). After a long period of inactivity, the band spent the first decade or so of the 21st century on something of a roll, releasing one excellent album after another at a relatively rapid clip, and this phase reaches what surely seems like some kind of culmination with Life in the Loading Bay. For as much as the last few releases by the latter-day version of Shriekback — still led by singer/keyboardist Barry Andrews and guitarist/singer Carl Marsh — led up to the achievement of Loading Bay, the album still bears strong stylistic ties to the band's previous peak, circa 1985's Oil & Gold. Andrews still sings like the Hannibal Lecter of rock, like he's planning to eat your soul as soon as he's finished laying down his deep, sinister vocals. His lyrical preoccupations still lean toward sleazy sex, reptilian imagery, polysyllabic prose, and a stream-of-consciousness flow. And the band still knows how to wind a hook around an insistent, throbbing pulse. It's just that Shriekback are doing most of these things better than ever here, most likely due to an accumulation of experience as much as anything else. While the band maintains a stylistic consistency across Loading Bay, it's not a monochromatic outing by any means; "Dreamlife of Dogs" bears a hushed, almost ambient dynamic, while "Loving Up the Thing" is percolating, midtempo synth pop, "Now I Wanna Go Home" bears some punky power chords and a growling vocal, and "Pointless Rivers" blends acoustic and electric textures with a gleefully scabrous lyrical thrust, for an effect not far from Nick Cave's Henry's Dream album. Now if only people were still paying even half as much attention to these Brits' brainy but visceral sound as they were back in the days of "Nemesis." ~ J. Allen, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Great new album from a great band

excellent to see Shriekback still making great music after all these years. I just got a copy of the long deleted Big Night Music from 86 ... interesting to compare, and certainly this new record stands up well to classic Shriekback. Fans should also check out the Having a Moment EP from a couple of years back - with ( I think ) the original lineup. Would love to see these guys do a live show.

A nice fresh batch of Shriek

This new set is a nice meal for Shriekback fans, if there are any left. The material is solid, much like the last few releases. The vocal presence of Carl Marsh is a highly welcome turn—I wouldn’t have minded a bit more of him, in fact. If this material feels slightly more “Oil & Gold” in style, then it’s probably because of Marsh. Mostly, however, Shriek is clearly still the Barry Andrews show, and that’s not a bad thing. I hope Shriek is able to reconnect with its old, neglected fan base a bit.


1: Buy this album
2: Make your friends listen to it.
3: Reap what you sow.

It's an album from 2010. It's not spread far enough. This is, quite literally, some of Shriekback's best work ever. "Flowers of Angst" alone is enough to justify the asking price, but repeated listens will reward with further depth and intricacy. Slithering hooks, throbbing beats, the quiet moments when the sun is not quite rising, and the energy has turned to dreadful peace, it's all here.


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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Life In The Loading Bay, Shriekback
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Customer Ratings