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Young Marble Giants 

Colossal Youth and Collected Works (Domino)

Wednesday, Oct 3 2007
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In the liner notes to this two-CD reissue, music critic Simon Reynolds suggests that Young Marble Giants debut, Colossal Youth, was one of only five perfect post-punk albums (the others being by the Slits, the Fall, and Pere Ubu). He goes on to say the British threesome's music — recorded between 1978 and 1981 — was as "miraculous yet commonplace" as leaves and snowflakes. While his first point is sure to start a billion arguments, his second is spot on. Young Marble Giants' sound was — and is — unlike any other rock band's, existing somewhere between the cold formalism of minimalist classical and the throbbing pulse of Krautrock. Alison Statton sang in a pretty, monochromatic croon, offering ennui and anger with the same quiet grace. Meanwhile, brothers Philip and Stuart Moxham stitched together robotic bass, tick-tocking drum machine beats, and some of the most elegantly fastidious guitar ever played. While there's probably more Young Marble Giants here than you'll ever need, it's still very instructive to hear two later EP tunes, "Clicktrack" and "Final Day," which point the way to minimalist electro-funk and twee indie-pop, respectively. As for the full-length Colossal Youth, well, that's a snowstorm that still inspires shock and awe.

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Dan Strachota

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