Naked Apes & Pond Life

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Eight years after Shriekback resurfaced briefly to release Sacred City and promptly vanished from view once again, a new album made its surprising appearance on an Australian label. Apparently recorded in 1995, Naked Apes & Pond Life features longtime Shrieks Barry Andrews (credited as lead vox & accordion, though some of his familiar synth work can be heard as well) and Martyn Barker (on his usual assortment of percussion). The lineup is rounded out by Lu Edmonds -- who played guitar on Oil and Gold, but is credited with saz and cumbus here -- and new members Simon Edwards and Mark Raudva. Much of Naked Apes & Pond Life finds Shriekback playing a sort of twisted world music that resembles the organic/electronic mix of Big Night Music, but adds a variety of exotic instruments and percussion. It makes for intriguing listening, and while Andrews still isn't much of a singer, his lyrics remain smart and provocative. The vocal compositions are interspersed with short, mostly electronic instrumentals. This album is more an interesting footnote to Shriekback's career than a major entry in their catalog, but it has enough good material that fans will find it worth seeking out.

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