Barry Andrews, who was XTC’s keyboard player on their first two albums and played in Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen, has been fronting Shriekback, in one form or another, since 1981. Their distinctive sound has remained largely the same: earthy, sinewy, groovy-heavy (sometimes bombastic) pop with Andrews’ breathy baritone at the helm. While best known for '80s indie disco singles "Lined Up," "My Spine is the Bassline" and "Nemesis," their atmospheric, ethereal side was quietly bewitching (director Michael Mann has made good use of it in more than a few projects).

Why Anything? Why This? is the 14th Shriekback album and Andrews doesn’t mess with the formula too much. He’s always had good taste in bassists (Dave Allen from Gang of Four was part of the original Shriekback lineup) and this time out Scott Firth (PiL) adds muscle and subtlety alongside longtime guitarist Carl Marsh and powerhouse drummer Martyn Barker, as well as Wendy and Sarah Partridge's distinctive backing vocals.  There are widescreen rockers ("Shovelheads," "And the Rain"), flights of fancy ("Wriggle and Drone") and pretty songs too. It's Big '80s attitude with a 2018 production aesthetic. The album's out Friday (5/25, order yours) but a stream of the whole thing premieres in this post.

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