Monday, February 22, 2010

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth

Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
Rough Trade, 1980 (Domino Reissue)
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2007
Price: $18

I am always amazed that this came out in 1980, because it still sounds so goddamned fresh. Maybe that's the way of timeless things. This record turned THIRTY this month. THIRTY YEARS OLD! And it's still one of the most unique records out there. Bass, clicks/whistles, scattered guitars, gnarly synths, borderline corny drum machine beats from the Moxham brothers and the lovely, unadorned vocals of Alison Statton. It's amazing how a record so sparse can sound so epic. And poppy, too! Melodies on “Include Me Out” and “Eating Noddemix” get lodged in your brain. Honestly, I feel like there are a million bands out there trying to do this and you know what, no one can. Not at all. Lawrence's own Fortuning had a very VERY clear Young Marble Giants jones, and though they soldiered on with the noblest of efforts, they underestimated that you need to have someone with a decent voice if you're going to pull off this spare new wavey pop stuff. Alison Statton doesn't sound classically trained by any means, but there's a big difference between not being a “real” singer and being tone deaf. Maybe that's the big irony, that all the great singers in the world aren't real singers, but since that is true, real singers are now people who don't spend hours learning octaves or whatever. What's that Silver Jews line, “All my favorite singers couldn't sing.” Anyway, off track, this is a masterpiece if only because no one has been able to replicate this sound but many have tried and Young Marble Giants are still influencing the pants off of countless young bands.


  1. Truth be told Ian.

    Have you read Rip it up and start again by Simon Reynolds? His chapter on Young Marble Giants is incredible - - check it out if you can.

    Also, the Ssion covered Credit in a Straight World, which was also covered by Hole and so forth. Their influence is insurmountable.

    take care.

  2. Both the album and Simon Reynolds' book are great.