Saturday, March 28, 2009

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth

More cream of the crop up in here.

"Although Prefix cannot unequivocally commit to an album that is "strenuously stiff," most critics have no reservations about labeling the album a classic. And MusicOMH advises, "You only get one chance to hear Colossal Youth for the first time. So if you’re not yet initiated, unhook the phone, put some time aside and revel in its tiny beauty." Dusted–and many critics–find that the material holds up quite well: "Three decades later, Colossal Youth & Collected Works still feels like the start of a brand new life." Exclaim! agrees, saying, "Colossal Youth sounds as important in 2007 as it likely did in 1980." And Treble adds, "While there are certainly many who have taken cues from YMG’s atmospheric new wave sound, their style remains distinctive and largely without peer."

Brian Eno is an oft-mentioned reference point in reviews of the hugely-respected Colossal Youth, but Dusted also hears echoes of Joe Meek and Lee Hazlewood. Like many reviewers, Gigwise zeroes in on the album’s deconstructionist nature: "What remains immediately striking is that ‘Colossal Youth’ is clearly an album of experimentation – a record of boundless artistic ambition that deconstructs song structure to its core principles." Filter hears "precise and elegant sketches" that amount to "primitivism at its most perfect." And the Seattle Weekly calls attention to the tension inherent in YMG’s minimalist style: "Because of this restraint, you keep waiting for the songs on Colossal Youth to explode, like ticking time bombs. But they never do."

As for the reissue itself (rather than just the original album), Exclaim! calls the new collection "thorough and, above all, necessary," while Gigwise deems it "essential," and The Guardian, "spellbinding." The latter publication adds that the material marks "an unassuming triumph, but a triumph nonetheless." Pitchfork notes that the extra material cannot live up to the standard set by the album: "Colossal Youth is such a bracing artifact, even now, that it begs for context; the other two discs demonstrate that the album is really all the band had to say, and the way they said it best." The Village Voice, however, appreciates the new material, declaring that "even demos of now-familiar songs can startle" in the context of different arrangements.

[Colossal Youth] is a record without genre, arguably outstripping The Slits in its disdain for rock structures or Wire in the way the songs appear to exhaust their ideas then stop dead, perfectly sated."