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Embrace the Herd

The Gist

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Album Review

When Stuart Moxham left his post in the legendary Young Marble Giants he created the Gist, a loose project where guests like Epic Soundtracks plus ex-Giants Alison Statton and Phil Moxham would make cameos over Stuart's iffy experiments. The Gist lasted for only one album, Embrace the Herd, which Moxham has often dismissed as misguided and negatively influenced by clinical depression, excessive indulgence in marijuana, and no idea of where to go next. None of his unkind words have kept fans of early twee and the early, anything-goes days of post-punk from declaring it a lost classic. Course, neither camp is being objective about it and the actual album ends up firmly between the two, just as incoherent and interesting as you've heard. First off, there's "Clean Bridges," a hypnotic meeting of twee and Eno-influenced art pop featuring Statton's vocals. Then there's "Love at First Sight," where a former Giant lets more R&B into his life, plus the reggae-influenced "Iambic Pentameter," which predicts the subaquatic dub sound of the Basic Channel label and at a ska pace. While brilliant moments like these are why Herd deserves a post-punk lover's attention, there are too many directionless instrumentals and too much overindulging to warrant "lost classic" status. With bonus tracks and a well-designed, informative booklet, Cherry Red's 2007 reissue makes this likable misfire all the more attractive.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

The Gist was formed by Stuart Moxham as a side project from his post-punk/twee pop pioneering band Young Marble Giants, but their first single appeared on the racks six weeks prior to the split of YMG, in December of 1980. Embrace the Herd, the group's lone LP, was released in May 1981. Reviewed favorably but not quite as glowingly as Young Marble Giants, the record shared a similar knack for dynamic but understated arrangements. A couple singles followed afterward, with the band dissolving by 1984...
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Embrace the Herd, The Gist
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