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Young Marble Giants

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Biography

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
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