Louder Than War

Monday, January 24, 2005

There is too much noise, there is too much heat

Young Marble Giants - Final Day
There is a temptation when creating and recording music to cram as much in as possible. More sounds, more ideas, more instruments, more samples, more, more, more.

Young Marble Giants were something else entirely. They were a band who valued quiet restraint, rather than empty bluster. For YMG, space and silence were something to be treasured and reveled in, only further serving to emphasise the icy, pure, clear voice of singer Alison Stratton.

In a 1980 article written in Sounds Magazine. Dave McCollough said: "Images the music makes are: tiny Welsh tearooms, childhood fear, coffee-bar intimacy, murder, lost love, sleep, tension and longing constantly underlied by an enduring eeriness in the music."

From South Wales, Young Marble Giants formed in the post punk era of 1978. Comprising the aforementioned Alison Stratton and the Moxham brothers Philip and Stuart. Isolated in the Welsh valleys, they created stark, otherworldly music that transported the listener to somewhere else, yet was as cold and emotionless as the provincial world they were seeking to escape from.

YMG were/are an enigma. Their debut album Colossal Youth was released in 1980 on Rough Trade and is a thing of understated beauty, comprising 15 gems of minimalist pop. The record remains a masterpiece and was/is like nothing else that came before or after. Simple, intimate and as sparse as an Arctic tundra, most songs just comprised vocals, bass and a guitar or organ, with perhaps a drum machine for backing.

In YMG songs, no note or lyric is wasted. Songs are skeletal and succinct. Each song says everything that the band wants to say, it is a statement of fact. There is no debate and no need for anything else.

After Colossal Youth the band released a few more tracks and EP's, before splitting up. Their career a mirror image of one of their songs. Short and to the point. Nothing wasted, never outstaying its welcome, but leaving the listener craving more.

Today, even in the wake of 'Cool Cymru', the band are largely unknown. However their influence on bands like The Sundays, Goldfrapp and Postishead is clear. In his journals, Kurt Cobain listed Colossal Youth as one of the ten records that changed his life:

"This music relaxes you, it's total atmospherics. It's just nice, pleasant music. I love it. The drum machine has to have the cheesiest sound ever. I had a crush on the singer for a while - didn't everyone?"

Who are we to disagree?

Young Marble Giants Web archive
Stuart Moxham interview


  • Nice site!
    [url=http://sswgyxmh.com/cehj/jtjh.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://pmnokasg.com/uqmc/qtpb.html]Cool site[/url]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 AM  

  • Good design!
    My homepage | Please visit

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 AM  

  • Well done!
    http://sswgyxmh.com/cehj/jtjh.html | http://kjxomrpx.com/iqyf/ddhe.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:36 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home