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Young Marble Giants

Formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1978, YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS were only around for a few years, but in that short space of time they unveiled an album worth of note and two decent EP/singles. Fronted by the naïve and bonny Alison Statton, with subtle backing from the Moxham brothers, Stuart (rhythm guitar/keyboards) – ex-True Wheel – and Philip (bass), their impact was such that a certain grunge queen Courtney Love and HOLE re-vamped their finest piece, `Credit In The Straight World’ (from 1994’s album `Live Through This’). Probably raising a winsome smile with some extra royalties rolling in, and Domino Records re-introducing the group in a whole new light, YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS re-formed in 2007 (adding brother Andrew Moxham on necessary drum machine) to duly perform the odd selective gig every year; in 2015 they played in Aalst, Belgium and the Festival Mimi in Marseille, France.
The combination of Stuart’s highly original songwriting talent, Philip’s “singing” bass and Statton’s spectral vox, the original trio had been held up as one of the post-punk era’s most unique and enchanting musical propositions. Rough Trade supremo Geoff Travis, for one, was quick to spot their talent, promptly signing the combo. Minimalist in execution and featuring the sparsest of electronic percussion with occasional primitive organ accompaniment, there really were no musical reference points save for Jayne Casey/PINK MILITARY, DURUTTI COLUMN or ENO – at a pinch!
The band’s one and only album, COLOSSAL YOUTH (1980) {*9} received almost universal acclaim, featuring as it did such quietly considered YMG mini-masterpieces as `Searching For Mr Right’, `Wurlitzer Jukebox’, `Include Me Out’, the cutesy-pie `The Man Amplifier’ and `Choci Loni’.
Following it up with an equally engrossing 4-track EP, spearheaded by `Final Day’ and others including `Radio Silents’ and `Cakewalking’, the band looked set for major cult success as the record climbed into the upper reaches of the indie chart. Yet YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS dissolved almost as quickly and mysteriously as they’d formed; Statton already strung out the lite jazz-influenced WEEKEND by the time of the Moxham’s final instrumental instalment, the `Testcard’ EP, was released the following March.
The brotherly partnership continued the stir up the indie world with The GIST; dispatching `This Is Love’ (b/w `Yanks’) prior to `Testcard’ and a belated one-off Rough Trade LP, `Embrace The Herd’ (1983); STUART MOXHAM & The Original Artists shed a few sets in the 90s before the launch of his solo career. Philip, meanwhile, played bass for 80s acts The COMMUNARDS and EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL.
© MC Strong 1999-2003/GRD // rev-up MCS Jul2015

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