Shriekback 1985
Releases
# Type Name Format Matrix # Date
1 Album Oil & Gold LP 207206 1985-??-??
2 Album Oil & Gold CD 422-942 882-2 1985-??-??
3 Album Oil & Gold Cassette ? 1985-??-??
4 Single Nemesis 7" x 2 SHRK 3 1985-??-??
5 Single Nemesis 12" SHRK 123 1985-??-??
6 Single Nemesis 12" x 2 SHRK 123 1985-??-??
7 Single Nemesis (Arch-Deviant Mix) 12" SHRK 223 1985-??-??
8 Single Fish Below the Ice 7" SHRK 4 1985-??-??
9 Single Fish Below the Ice 7" x 2 SHRK D4 1985-??-??
10 Single Fish Below the Ice 12" SHRK 124 1985-??-??
11 Single Fish Below the Ice 12" x 2 SHRK D124 1985-??-??
12 Single Fish Below the Ice (dance mix) 12" SHRK 224 DJ 1985-??-??
13 Single Fish Below the Ice (vocal/remix version) 12" DMD 894 1985-??-??

1985 was a superstar year for Shriekback. The band moved from Arista proper to Arista's Island Records label and subsequently made alternative-music history with their groundbreaking perennial favourite, Oil & Gold, the only Shriekback recording to remain continuously available for more than twenty years. Nearly all people who have a passing familarity with Shriekback are familiar either with Oil & Gold or its popular single, 'Nemesis.'

Two singles from Oil & Gold were released, 'Nemesis' and 'Fish Below the Ice.' On the UK charts, 'Nemesis' went to #94, and 'Fish Below the Ice' went to #88. While these positions are lower than two of their three previous charting singles, 1985 was the year for Shriekback's formal introduction to America via MTV's program, The Cutting Edge. Nemesis aired with an introduction nearly as famous and weird as the video itself. While failing to make any significant headway into the mainstream charts, 'Nemesis' was supremely popular with college audiences.

Oil & Gold was the first Shriekback recording to be released onto the new CD format and was initially packaged in the now infamous 'longbox' format. The now-usual plethora of singles was released, and audiences were innundated with four different versions of the 'Nemesis' single and six different versions of the 'Fish Below the Ice' single.

There are four mixes of 'Nemesis': the album version, the 7" version, the 12" version, and the Arch-Deviant Mix. What is notable about the 'Nemesis' singles is that all four versions featured the first release of a live cut from Shriekback. 'Suck,' a tune from 1984's Jam Science, was recorded live at Hatfield Polytechnic on October 23rd, 1984. The double-record versions of these singles contin two more cuts from the same concert. The entire Hatfield Polytechnic concert was eventually released on CDR from Shriekback.com in 2002 as Hatfield.

The story of the 'Fish Below the Ice' singles is nearly as complicated as that of 1984's 'Hand on My Heart' series. There are five mixes of 'Fish Below the Ice': the album version, the 7" version, the Plankton-Enriched Mix, the Dance Mix, and the Vocal/Remix version. The 7" and 12" versions were released in both single and double-record packages. The second record featured new mixes of the already-ubiquitous cuts, 'Lined Up' and 'My Spine (is the Bass Line).' The Dance Mix and Vocal/Enhanced versions were promotional-only items and can be difficult to locate. Sadly, only the Plankton-Enriched and album mixes have been released onto CD. While the 7" mix is superb, it has gone largely unheard, unnoticed, and unappreciated.

Lyrically speaking, Oil & Gold was basically an even split between Carl Marsh and Barry Andrews with Marsh composing much of the harsher songs (e.g., 'Malaria') and Andrews composing most of the quieter songs (e.g., 'Faded Flowers'). Three of the quieter cuts were used in films in 1986. Producer Michael Mann used 'This Big Hush' and 'Ceolacanth' from Oil & Gold as well as 'Accretions' from Tench in Manhunter, the first film to feature Hannibal Lecter. 'Faded Flowers,' perhaps the band's most critically acclaimed song, was also used by Mann in 1986's Band of the Hand.

Shriekback 1984 Shriekback 1986