As 80s agit-funk veterans Shriekback announce rare date in Manchester, Getintothis’ Banjo looks into their story so far.
Shriekback were almost a supergroup when they formed in 1981, featuring Barry Andrews from XTC and Dave Allen from Gang of Four as their core members, along with Carl Marsh, formerly with Peel show favourites Out on Blue Six.
Centred around Allen’s tight, taut bass lines, Shriekback took the 80s’ funk fixation seriously, as demonstrated on Tench, their first EP. The band originally signed to Y Records, also home to The Slits and The Pop Group, which sets them in good company and gives an indication of where they lay, both musically and culturally.
Their debut album, Care, fared quite well, gathering positive reviews and being picked up by Warner for the US. However, perhaps being too odd and angular for mainstream, the album was not a commercial success.
Two more albums followed before the band split in 1988, before reforming in 1992. They have remained a sporadic presence since then, releasing several albums, including 2016’s Without Real String Or Fish, although some of these albums seem more like Barry Andrews solo albums than true Shriekback releases.
Shriekback have announced their first live shows in 25 years, playing three dates in May and June. Manchester is lucky enough to host one of these at The Ritz on 31st May. Dave Allen has been replaced by Public Image Ltd’s Scott Firth and Shriekback have expanded to an 8 piece to “give full voice to all the force and nuance of their extensive catalogue”.
Shriekback‘s show dates are:
May 31: The Ritz, Manchester
June 1: ABC, Glasgow
June 3: Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London