Alone in a crowd, barely awake on the last train … furtive voices scarcely reaching through your headphones … Here’s a song to make you distant. From trauma to drama, we flourish in exquisite decay as static filters through veils and in waves, crashes opaque into layers of grey. In nightclubs you’re emotion and we fall into the sound. This music is ceaseless, It can’t be too loud. Now curtains are drawn on the lonely, the bleak. We gather. You breathe. You blink. You shriek.
Raziel Panic formed You Shriek in the long night that separates the gloss ‘80s from the frayed and shattered 1990s. Crafting synthpop noir for the Boston underground and staging unforgettable shows in dives where oblique clips of video glitched, and film loops lit the crowd, the band thrived in that historical moment when club ManRay reigned, when red electronic eyes still glowed from the basement of The Rat, and when after-party access meant scaling damaged walls of empty buildings, taking digital tape-decks to capture the crash of sheet metal and safety glass cast from gantries overhead.
We passed each other cassettes in the pit, in the square: the band’s first demo, Suicide Note. We soon found like minds in those ancient Usenet groups which spawned compilation tapes, then LPs and CDs. You Shriek established themselves as cult favorites as their music spread to the international club scene.
In the studio, night persists. The next releases, the Grim EP and Burn Something Dear, saw the band arrive early for the dawn of the practical digital project studio. Consoles are bathed in the endless glow from a red light, long shadows cast on racks of synths, on coils of wire, on countless nameless blinking boxes. On this dizzying 24 hour cycle, Raziel joined with guitarist John Oleary and keyboardist Skot Kremen to create songs that would crash-land somewhere between New Wave melodic and Goth somber. Their 2003 album, Unreal Cities marked a full realization of the band’s ability to take a recording from inception to final mix. And truly beyond: A hand-bound, limited edition book, containing unique, original photos depicting aging bridges that span industrial channels and close brick skylines. The immersive sound, these layered voices calling out across this landscape of old iron and emptiness, wax and radiate from that part of town.
Post, post-everything, at three a.m., at four a.m., we can look into our screens as Razi transmits in black and white. A new sound from nowhere, from everywhere, we’re watching in-element; a glowing display, misty trails of hands passing over faders, over keys, and strings and frets. By these movie scenes and live video streams we’re invited in to share the experience soon bound for podcasts, video games, net radio and club nights.
Themes of solitude echo forever in the creation of this music. Details from the decade in demos form the sound of this latest, the third full-length album. These are elements of vague histories distilled in the past year of recording, and very likely the last time a You Shriek album will be made this way. Reflections on a dark pane, ghostly murmurs, soaring harmonics. As the vocals subside, awash among the synths & the cresting echoes, here is a song that does not tell you how to feel but you’ll do it anyhow. This is the space between Heaven and Sorrow.