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OriginKentish Town, London, England
GenresPost-punk, new wave
Years active1981–1989, 1992, 1999–present
LabelsY Records, Arista, Island, Capitol
MembersBarry Andrews
Carl Marsh
Martyn Barker
Past membersDave Allen
Mike Cozzi
Wendy Partridge
Sarah Partridge
Lu Edmonds
Mark Raudva
Kevin 'Doc'Sullivan

Shriekback are an English rock band formed in 1981 in Kentish Town by Barry Andrews, formerly of XTC and League of Gentlemen (keyboards/synthesizers/vocals), and Dave Allen, formerly of the Gang of Four (bass), with Carl Marsh, formerly of Out On Blue Six (guitars/vocals) soon added to the line-up. They were joined by Martyn Barker on drums in 1983. Other members included: Luc van Acker, Linda Nevill, Emma Burnham, Brian Nevill, Pedro Ortiz, Clare Hirst, Lu Edmonds, Wendy and Sarah Partridge (from Electric Guitars), Steve Halliwell, Eve Moon, Ivan Julian, Mike Cozzi, and Jessica Palin/Jose Fina Cupido.[1]


Shriekback was originally formed in 1981 by Barry Andrews, and Dave Allen, expanding to a trio with the addition of Carl Marsh.[2] They enjoyed some success on the dance chart on their original Y Records label, and had a string of hits on the UK Indie Chart, while their debut album, Care (1983) was picked up by Warner in the United States.[2] They left Y for Arista Records for 1984's Jam Science, also recruiting drummer Martyn Barker.[2] The album reached number 85 on the UK Albums Chart, and the single "Hand on my Heart" charted in the Top 60 in the UK.[2] They recorded the 1985 album Oil & Gold on Arista (released on Island Records in the US).[3] Marsh left Shriekback during the recording of Oil & Gold and was replaced on guitar by Mike Cozzi,[2] with Andrews taking over lead vocals. Shriekback also left Arista and signed to Island Records for whom they recorded the 1986 album Big Night Music,[4] after which Allen left to rejoin Gang of Four, and Shriekback remained a collaborative centred on Andrews. Allen would also go on to play in King Swamp and The Elastic Purejoy. Marsh was also in the band Happyhead.

After a further album in 1988, Go Bang!, the band split up.[4] Andrews continued working on other projects before re-forming Shriekback in 1992, although after the single "The Bastard Sons of Enoch" and album Sacred City, there would be no further releases until 2000's Naked Apes & Pond Life album.

Both Allen and Marsh returned to the studio to contribute to the recording of Shriekback's 2003 release Having a Moment. Since Having a Moment, Andrews has recorded three albums[citation needed] for Malicious Damage (Killing Joke's original label) under the Shriekback moniker. Film director Michael Mann was a fan of Shriekback, and used several of their songs in his films Manhunter and Band of the Hand, and in his television series Miami Vice.

Shriekback are still actively producing music and released a studio album in May of 2018, Why Anything? Why This?. In 2019, the same lineup of Andrews, Barker, and Marsh recorded their 15th album, with a release set for the end of the year.

Music composed by Shriekback is used as the theme song for the Squaring the Strange podcast hosted by Benjamin Radford and Pascual Romero. It was selected due to the duo's fondness for music from the 1980s, and particularly for this band.[5]


Studio albums[edit]

Compilations & Live[edit]

  • The Infinite (The Best of Shriekback) (1984) Kaz
  • Evolution - Best of Shriekback vol. 2 (1988) Kaz
  • The Dancing Years (1990) Island
  • Natural History - The Very Best of Shriekback (1994) Essential
  • Priests and Kannibals: The Best of Shriekback (1994) Arista
  • The Y Records Years (2000) Sanctuary
  • Aberrations 81-84 (2001) Weatherbox
  • Vicissitudes (2002) Internet-only release
  • 2 Live Shows (2002)
  • Live at Hatfield (2002)
  • Secrets Of The City (2002) Internet-only release
  • Island of the Hopeful Monsters (2015)
  • Live At Park West, Chicago '87 (2016)
  • Peel Sessions And Singularities (2016)
  • Big Live Band 2017 (2017)
  • The Elated World (2017) Album of commissioned songs

According to Joel Whitburn's Hot Dance/Disco book 1974/2003, All Lined Up Hit No. 35 on the US Dance/Club chart


Year Title Chart positions Album
UK Indie Chart UK Singles Chart[7] U.S. Dance/Club U.S. Modern Rock U.S. Mainstream Rock
1982 "Sexthinkone" - - - - - -
"My Spine Is the Bassline" 15 - - - - -
1983 "Lined Up" 3 89 - - - Care
"Working on the Ground" 5 - - - - -
"Lined Up (remix)" 7 - - - - Care
1984 "Hand On My Heart" - 52 22 - - Jam Science
"Mercy Dash" - - - - -
Knowledge, Power, Truth and Sex EP - - - - -
1985 "Nemesis" - 94 - - - Oil and Gold
"Fish Below the Ice" - 88 - - -
1986 "Gunning for the Buddha" - - - - - Big Night Music
"Running on the Rocks" - - - - -
1988 "Intoxication" - - - 6 - Go Bang!
"Shark Walk" - - - 19 -
"Get Down Tonight" - - 20 - -
The Peel Sessions EP - - - - - -
1992 "The Bastard Sons of Enoch" - - - - - Sacred City

Video albums[edit]

  • Jungle Of The Senses (1987) Island Visual Arts


  1. ^ "Shriekback".
  2. ^ a b c d e Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
  3. ^ Shriekback – Oil And Gold,, retrieved 4 November 2015
  4. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1082. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  5. ^ Romero, Pascual. "A few notes and credits before the next episode". Squaring the Strange. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018. Our theme song was composed by Shriekback, a band Ben and I both love (particularly because of my fondness for the 80s). Be sure to check out their music!
  6. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 497. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]