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Young Marble Giants

Colossal Youth & Collected Works (Domino)

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Despite punk culture's we're-not-like-everybody-else posturing, much of its music was rather conventional. But there were a handful of combos working with truly radical ideas, including Suicide, Pere Ubu, the Pop Group, and the U.K.'s Young Marble Giants, active between the years 1978 and '80.

Consisting of brothers Stuart and Philip Moxham (guitar, organ, bass, drum machine) and vocalist Alison Statton, YMG played at muted volumes while Statton sang in a pretty yet coolly detached tone. "Constantly Changing" and the title track from YMG's 1980 debut album, Colossal Youth, epitomize the trio's skeletal songwriting and production. The former features a Batman theme-inspired bassline, tantalizing surf-tinged guitars, and Statton's waif soprano. The latter features a sumptuous organ so rudimentary, it sounds like Booker T in his bassinet. (YMG even dedicated a song to him.) Another pinnacle in this three-disc compilation of YMG's entire output is "Final Day," a lovely post-apocalyptic lullaby. In retrospect, Young Marble Giants was ground zero for quietcore, sadcore, and pop minimalism. This is essential stuff.

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