Sunday, October 16, 2005

cult of the week - The Gist

artist: The Gist

title: Embrace the Herd

year: 1983

label: Rough Trade Records

personnel: Stuart Moxham (all instruments except…), Phil Moxham (bass), Dave Dearnaley (guitar), Wendy Smith (vocal), Viv Goldman (vocal), Alison Statton (vocal), Debbie Pritchard (vocal), Lewis Mottram (instruments), Nixon (vocal), Charles Bullen (percussion), Phil Legg (percussion), Jake Bowie (percussion), Epic Soundtracks (drums)

tracklisting: far concern, love at first sight, fretting away, public girls, clean bridges, simian, embrace the herd, iambic petameter, carnival headache, concrete, slopes, the long run, darlk shots

cotw say…

Welsh trio Young Marble Giants’ stubborn pursuit of musical minimalism at a time when their post-punk peers were trying to cram in as much as possible, earned them huge amounts of respect. crafting short, poignant songs around bass, guitar, rhythm box and organ – but rarely all at the same time – Young Marble Giants’ output came close to perfection. wisely, YMG-member Stuart Moxham’s sole album as ‘The Gist’ picked up where his previous band left off, although sadly, too few picked up on it at the time.

‘Embrace the Herd’ has its fair share of surprises. the opening rumble of African percussion (and ethnic cover art) do hint at forty minutes of world music meanderings, only for the music to momentarily spin off on a bizarre electronic tangent. fine, subtle and percussion-free songs such as ‘Public Girls’ and ‘Simian’ inevitably recall Young Marble Giants at their best, with some tracks such as ‘Love at First Sight’ and ‘The Long Run’ staying poppy enough to sound like China Crisis (that’s not a criticism). meanwhile, the bouncy electronic folk of the standout ‘Iambic Pentameter’, really does sound like a lost track from Eno’s ‘Before and After Science’. several other tracks are instrumental or thereabouts, and range from the humorous middle-eastern synths of ‘Concrete Slopes’, to the multi-tracked guitars of ‘Fretting Away’.

embrace the herd. and never let it go.

erik -

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