Thursday, June 7, 2007

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth

Year: 1980
Genre: Post-Punk

Highlight Tracks: "Searching for Mr. Right", "N.I.T.A.", "Music for Evenings"
Weak Tracks: "Colossal Youth"

So far 'O', 'Q', and now 'Y' have been the letters with least amount of albums in my collection. I had to dip into my vinyl collection to find a 'Y' band for today and I'm glad I did.

Colossal Youth is a terrific gem of post-punk minimalism from the formative days of the genre. Allison Statton's vocals are the bizarre focal point of this very odd album. Her delivery is almost deadpan but then every once in a while she teases us with a strain of emotion; usually longing or the suppression of longing. Her whole vocal effect brings to mind an attractive woman who has become numb to the relationship game but secretly hopes to have her inner-romantic swept away unexpectedly. It would be heart-breaking if not for the fact that there is also an inflection of fun in Statton's singing that keeps this album out of wrist-slashing territory.

The music that accompanies Statton's voice is an incredible array of minimalist keyboard and guitar tricks set to a drum machine. The music on this album could be printed instructions for post-punk instrument tuning. One of the things that set this album apart from the rest of the pack is the odd pacing of the bass and drum machine. Another is the space between notes. This album isn't crowded with squall, squelch, and noise. The band let their music breath (much like John Cale of The Velvet Underground did) so that each note stands out, highlighted like an escaping prisoner caught in front of the prison wall by a spotlight.

Both elements, voice and music, combine for quite an interesting effect. The album is very minimal and therefore a great relaxing listen. But the mood of it is chameleon-like in that it amplifies whatever mood the listener brings to it. The album can be extremely lonely and sad just as easily as it can be an uplifting and exhilarating musical experience.


prokop said...

While glad to read about YMG (never head them really), here are some other Y's. This should keep you for your next 7 trips (182 days) through the end of the alphabet if you get stuck.

Young Fresh Fellows
Youth Brigade (CA)
Youth Brigade (DC)
Yellow Swans

This doesn't even touch Yoko Ono's solo career, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Y&T. Maybe those should remain untouched however.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.