15 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A great introduction to the band Young Marble Giants, this album was originally released in 1980 in what was likely an experimental moment of courage: punk had been birthed just a few years prior in a noisy, messy explosion of sound and image, and the new, post-punk movement was getting underway in the U.K. But was this too post-punk? Twee, sparse, airy, light … downright quiet, they were, this trio of bass, organ and detached, cool female vocals (the fourth member was a drum machine, largely responsible for the pervasive chill found throughout the proceedings). Considered a seminal record, this one and only full-length, studio recording from the band was released to much acclaim, allegedly contributing to the quick demise of the band. One listen to the perfect blend of irony and earnestness, fury and tenderness on just about any of these tracks should convince you of the band’s utterly unique standing (if you must shop around, try the galloping “Include Me Out,” the longing “Constantly Changing,” the cold and yet strangely emotional “Brand-New-Life”). YMG has influenced scores of bands in the Belle and Sebastian and Everything But the Girl schools of rock. Little did the band know – a quarter of a century ago – the mark they would leave on the musical map of pop culture. (If you are already a fan, be sure to seek out the Colossal Youth & Collected Works for everything the band ever recorded.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A great introduction to the band Young Marble Giants, this album was originally released in 1980 in what was likely an experimental moment of courage: punk had been birthed just a few years prior in a noisy, messy explosion of sound and image, and the new, post-punk movement was getting underway in the U.K. But was this too post-punk? Twee, sparse, airy, light … downright quiet, they were, this trio of bass, organ and detached, cool female vocals (the fourth member was a drum machine, largely responsible for the pervasive chill found throughout the proceedings). Considered a seminal record, this one and only full-length, studio recording from the band was released to much acclaim, allegedly contributing to the quick demise of the band. One listen to the perfect blend of irony and earnestness, fury and tenderness on just about any of these tracks should convince you of the band’s utterly unique standing (if you must shop around, try the galloping “Include Me Out,” the longing “Constantly Changing,” the cold and yet strangely emotional “Brand-New-Life”). YMG has influenced scores of bands in the Belle and Sebastian and Everything But the Girl schools of rock. Little did the band know – a quarter of a century ago – the mark they would leave on the musical map of pop culture. (If you are already a fan, be sure to seek out the Colossal Youth & Collected Works for everything the band ever recorded.

TITLE TIME
3:03
2:00
2:07
2:04
2:04
3:31
1:54
3:02
3:15
2:37
2:45
2:00
2:29
2:55
2:25

About Young Marble Giants

One of the quirkiest and most idiosyncratic groups to emerge from the early British new wave indie scene, Young Marble Giants (from Cardiff, Wales) were not so much new wave in sound as in strategy. They subverted conventional pop/rock methods by stripping both song construction and instrumentation to its essence. A reverberant funky bass, a shrill organ, short choppy bursts of guitar chords, a softly clicking drum machine -- that was all the trio needed. The hauntingly spacious sound was made both more intimate and foreboding by Alison Statton's coolly intoned, almost neutral vocals. The words were more important for their mood than their content. Pop minimalism of the first order, it now stands as one of the first fully formed expressions of the subgenre that would be called post-punk.

Needless to say, it was also quite resistant to widespread commercial success, although it quickly attracted a cult following. Almost the whole of their output is contained on their debut and, as it turned out, their only album, Colossal Youth (1980). After an EP in 1981, the group broke up. Alison Statton went into a more jazz-lounge-pop direction with Weekend and solo recordings. YMG guitarist and principal YMG songwriter Stuart Moxham formed the Gist, and in the 1990s, after a series of personal setbacks, began regularly releasing solo product with fuller and more traditional rock arrangements than those identified with the Young Marble Giants. ~ Richie Unterberger

ORIGIN
Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales
FORMED
1978

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