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Last week we rejoiced in a re-issue of former Young Marble Giants lady Alison Statton’s Weekend project. This time its the turn of guitarist and songwriter Stuart Moxham’s post YMG project The Gist to get the re-issue treatment.
Its a crazily diverse selection of compositions, always quirky, always home-made and featuring a hotch potch of contributors including brother Phil and the aforementioned Alison Statton. ‘Love At First Sight’ is a bone fide early 80’s classic. Taking the Young Marble Giants template into a shimmering almost yacht rock territory its both intimate and strangely reminicent of the chart busting summer smash ‘Cruel Summer’ by Bananarama. Its followed by ‘Fretting Away’ a brilliantly oddball instrumental somewhere between YMG’s ‘Testcard EP’ and the early instrumental Wall Of Voodoo. Starting with drum machine and bass, Moxham adds layers and layers of guitars and further bass to build up a wonderfully insidious interweaving piece.
‘Clean Bridges’ featuring Alison Statton and Phil Moxham and is presumably what a second Young Marble Giants album would have sounded like. I.e utterly brilliant. The A side is simply wonderful start to finish, a few more experimental tracks on the flip but never less than interesting. Young Marble Giants have been rightly adored over the years but this stuff is incredible too and if you’ve swooned over ‘Colossal Youth’ you need to give this idiosyncratic but brilliant album a shot.
Young Marble Giant Stuart Moxham's post-Giants solo LP as The Gist is being reissued this week, which is good news for me because I've not heard it before. I'm learning from the liner notes that it was recorded shortly after the demise of YMG while Moxham was recovering from a motorcycle accident that left him in a full length leg cast for a year. Poor lad had nothing to do but muck around in a basic home studio. Various buddies turn up to help on the odd track including notably the other two Marble Giants and Epic Soundtracks, and the fact there's a few different singers on it help it from sounding too much like a one-man-in-his-bedroom type of record.
The songs themselves are spindly minimal pop that mixes synths and electronic beats with live percussion and instrumentation, all arranged with the sort of efficiency and clarity that made his previous work so stark and hard to ignore. But this seems more playful and sometimes even cheeky. 'Iambic Pentameter' boasts a fast oompah-ish synth-accordion and rinky-dink drum machine while he croons low and sardonic.
There's a humming bit, there's some handclaps (four). 'Carnival Headache' which follows it is multitracked madness with some delay pedal synth action courtesy of his brother Phil and rakish guitar and synth plinking and octave harmonies on the vocals. It's just really good experimental pop but with that same economy of arrangement that you would expect from Moxham. If you're a fan of the Young Marble Giants and haven't investigated this yet, I strongly recommend it. Lots of fun.
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