Proper Welsh Indie wizards.
Aside from the legend that is John Cale, the Welsh may be known for being keen singers and musicians but who has had the credibility to match their singing talents? Sure, Tom Jones is known by all but you'd be laughed out of town for sticking on one of his tunes. In the modern age, Charlotte Church and Kathryn Jenkins are both fine ladies with excellent vocal performances but its not the sort of music you're going to put on to impress anyone, is it?
Where are the Welsh heroes, the people who made music that their nation can be proud of, the Scots have always had bands coming through and with The View, The Fratellis and Franz Ferdinand in recent years becoming major smashes, the Welsh are lagging behind and lets not consider the waste of space that are the Stereophonics.
However, all is not lost and its perhaps ironic that we mentioned Franz Ferdinand because in the rush of mentioning Gang of Four as being an influence on FF, the WORK OF Young Marble Giants may have played a part as well.
The Cardiff based band may have made only one album, one EP and a single but with an unreleased album in the can and a Peel sessions, this double CD goes about righting some wrongs and hopefully bringing their take on the New Wave scene to a whole new audience.
On first listen, the bass immediately jumps to the fore, as happened regularly back in that era. Perhaps it was the production value or perhaps it was a reaction to the guitar led stuff from the decade before but the throb of the bass propels this record forward and underpins so much.
The vocal is consistent throughout and you can tell of the great influence it has had on singers throughout the year, with Broadcast immediately springing to mind. Even by the 1980s there was nothing new about a restrained and menacing female vocal but in this combination with the dark musical backing, a few lessons have been learned since then.
'The Man Amplifier' has a fairground feel, the stylised keyboard sound whirls away in the background and Alison Stattons ice-cool delivery bounces over the top to create a sharp contrast between fun and fear. The clarity in the vocals ensures that even todays re-release is an enjoyable listening experience.
The name Young Marble Giants had been one that popped up occasionally when bands of this ilk were mentioned but their music never really reached these ears but the album 'Colossal Youth', with the benefit of hindsight, should be viewed as an influential classic, and its only CD1 of this package.
The second helping offers up tracks from EPs, singles and rarities. There are a few more instrumentals on this selection and whilst it may not warrant as many listens as the main disc, its still a reasonable collection. 'Clicktalk' has a gloriously funky side, again driven from the bass, which would be capable of getting anyone dancing or at least soundtracking a decent television show!
The second CD has some more off-kilter moments, such like the introduction to 'The Man Shares His Meal With His Beast' (perhaps the title should have gave it away) but again, the first CD is the consistent album quality, the bonus disc throws everything else together and retains the production values and enjoyment.
When it comes to looking at influences on the bands of today, the name Young Marble Giants has certainly been added to the list of bands who have made their mark on future generations.