Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Shriekback

Now that popular 80's music is getting a semi-serious revisit (Interpol, et al), I wonder if Shriekback will also get a second look.

While XTC's Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory went down the pastoral-beatlesque path that became their signature sound, another original XTCer, Barry Andrews, hit the cups. Some say he did a Ziggy-like suck up into his mind. But without getting too analytical here, his 80's band, Shriekback, put out interesting music. Some of it I think is fairly timeless. Just get past (or revel in) the synth washes.

One of my favorite albums of theirs is "Go Bang!" Lyrically, I think of it as an indictment - and a celebration - of both societal and personal self-indulgence. He captured the seen-it-all, bored-with-life 'tude; post 60s/70s. At the same time, he seemed optimistic in showing everyone was going to keep on dancing anyway. However, since this was also pre effective AIDS-cocktails, the clouds of mortality were ever present.

Barry seemed to have that classic addictive tendency to love and hate the high. Within the experience, was awareness; but there was also hell to pay for the priviledge. You'll also see a nice wry sense of humor at play in the lyrics - which always works for me.

A 4 song sequence closes out Go Bang which nicely encapsulates what I mean about the band. Here's the lyrics to a couple of the songs. MP3s are here, so you can sing and dance along. Everybody go bang.

Go Bang

Everybody sick of ordering pizza, everybody tired of holding hands
Everybody had their share of small-talk, everybody bored with of making plans
Everybody had their feet inspected, everbody had to get a grip
everbody got their plastic bullets, everybody shooting from the hip
Everybody bites the hand that feeds them, everybody had their one-night stands
EVERYBODY HERE GO BANG. EVERYBODY HERE GO BANG.

(chorus, which is basically repeating 'everybody here go bang', so let's move onto the next verse)

Everybody here is making whoopee everybody here got purple hair
Everybody got their Black and Decker - blood and fettucine everywhere
Everybody do the Zulu wardance, doing something with a piece of wood
Everybody here can't get arrested, everybody wishing someone would
Everybody getting paranormal, everybody here in Wonderland
EVERYBODY HERE GO BANG. EVERYBODY HERE GO BANG.

Everybody want their milk and biscuits, everybody wants their bed of nails
Everybody wants to feel romantic, everybody knows what that entails
Everybody needs their feeding-frenzy, everybody needs to justify
Everyone inclines to reproduction, everybody has an alibi
Everybody wants a private income, everybody plays the Steinway grand
EVERYBODY HERE GO BANG. EVERYBODY HERE GO BANG.


The next 3 songs are Big Fun (wherein he basically tells himself he too should go bang), Get Down Tonight (the cover - and it's a pretty hot version), followed by Dust And Shadow. It's a good album closer. It's a sermon.

Dust And Shadow

Like the falling leaves and the shifting past
Sometimes the treasured things are not the things that last
And we know where we stand - between fear and desire
With one fist raised in anger, with one foot in the fire.

(chorus)
We are dust and shadow under the naked light
We are dust and shadow - wishing everything stood still tonight
We are dust and shadow - the dream of history
We are the hungry ghosts crying 'remember me, remember me.'

All the Pride and Shame. All the bones and glass
These kind of fragile things were never gonna last
Oh pretty little Boy and you my millionaire -
When the time comes you go alone
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs.

(chorus)

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