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The KSPC library is jam-packed with all kind of musical goodies just waiting to be re-discovered. One volunteer ventured forth into this library labyrinth and emerged with a insightful review of a 1980 release from Young Marble Giants! Check out Olivia Wood’s review of Colossal Youth, learn about this cool album, expand your own library, and look out for more reviews in the Exploring the Library series!

Album: Colossal Youth

Artist: Young Marble Giants

Label: Rough Trade Records

Year: 1980

The first thing you’ll probably notice upon listening to Colossal Youth is how minimalist it is. Almost all the songs consist entirely of a simple drum machine loop, muted guitar and bass riffs, and lead singer Alison Statton’s unassuming vocals; an organ makes an appearance every now and then to deepen the aura. But despite their spareness, Young Marble Giants command attention. Their use of stripped-down elements atop a core of consistently great songwriting builds songs that derive their power from the interplay of each carefully made musical choice. “Credit in the Straight World”—made famous by Hole’s 1994 cover—combines obscure, slightly unsettling lyrics with interlocking guitar and bass jitters, while “Brand-New-Life” takes an undeniable pop riff and makes it sound ten times more heartbreaking just by turning the volume down. It’s a shame that this was the only studio album Young Marble Giants ever released, but it’s proved more than enough to cement them as a unique, quietly influential band. Listen and appreciate often.

Key tracks: “Brand-New-Life,” “Credit in the Straight World,” “Include Me Out”

Review by Olivia Wood