10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Oil & Gold was a milestone for Shriekback, who emerged at the onset of the '80s as purveyors of supple, subtle, postpunk-informed electronic art-funk. On their third album they moved definitively toward the sound that'd come to define the band, by replacing the drum machine with a flesh-and-blood drummer, turning up Carl Marsh's guitar (erstwhile Damned guitarist Lu Edmonds is also present), and focusing more on infectious tunes than dance grooves. Bandleader and onetime XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews shares lead vocals with Marsh, and the most memorable tunes combine a fierce forward momentum with quirky, polysyllabic lyrics—the chorus of "Nemesis" famously rhymes the tune's title with "parthenogenesis," for example. It's clear from the start, when the female backing singers take part in a gospel-tinged call-and-response on the churning opener, "Malaria," that this isn't the Shriekback of old. Elsewhere, gently melodic tunes like "Faded Flowers" and the instrumental "Coelocanth" show a touch of Brian Eno influence, ensuring that Oil & Gold remains far from musically monochromatic.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Oil & Gold was a milestone for Shriekback, who emerged at the onset of the '80s as purveyors of supple, subtle, postpunk-informed electronic art-funk. On their third album they moved definitively toward the sound that'd come to define the band, by replacing the drum machine with a flesh-and-blood drummer, turning up Carl Marsh's guitar (erstwhile Damned guitarist Lu Edmonds is also present), and focusing more on infectious tunes than dance grooves. Bandleader and onetime XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews shares lead vocals with Marsh, and the most memorable tunes combine a fierce forward momentum with quirky, polysyllabic lyrics—the chorus of "Nemesis" famously rhymes the tune's title with "parthenogenesis," for example. It's clear from the start, when the female backing singers take part in a gospel-tinged call-and-response on the churning opener, "Malaria," that this isn't the Shriekback of old. Elsewhere, gently melodic tunes like "Faded Flowers" and the instrumental "Coelocanth" show a touch of Brian Eno influence, ensuring that Oil & Gold remains far from musically monochromatic.

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