Shriekback: “Life in the Loading Bay”

Posted in Dancing about architecture on March 10th, 2011 by bill

One day in 1986 I was in Cymbaline Records in Santa Cruz and decided to check the section for Shriekback, one of my three favorite bands at the time (and maybe now). I didn’t expect to find anything I didn’t already own, so imagine my surprise at finding there a brand-new, long-playing vinyl record album called Big Night Music. It was mine a few minutes later and spinning on my turntable not long after that, bringing me considerable pleasure.

This sort of thing doesn’t happen much anymore; the internet makes it hard to be surprised that way. But a couple of months ago in a moment of boredom I happened to check Shriekback’s web site, and discovered that they had released a new album called Life in the Loading Bay on which original singer and guitarist Carl Marsh had rejoined the band. Several albums have been released under the Shriekback name over the last decade or so, but they were basically solo projects of the only remaining original member, Barry Andrews. The first of these, Naked Apes and Pond Life, was intermittently brilliant, but subsequent releases were increasingly lifeless and hermetic in that way of all too many solo projects.

The exception was Having a Moment, the 2005 mini-album that reunited all the members, including Andrews, Marsh, drummer Martyn Barker, and Mighty Titan of Bass Dave Allen. Together they picked up right where they’d left off 20 years before, and for a minute there it was 1985 again. In case you’ve forgotten, 1985 was a very good year.
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