Saturday, June 21, 2008

Song of the day

"Love At First Sight", by The Gist. It's remarkable what gems are buried on eMusic, waiting to be ferreted out by keen puppies. For example, lying unseen next to the new James Blackshaw album (get it!) and the new Studio remix collection (ditto!) is a record called "Embrace The Herd", by The Gist, aka Stuart and Philip Moxham, aka two-thirds of Young Marble Giants, which was recorded not long after that band's break-up, in 1982. And while it can only be a disappointment by comparison with the colossal "Colossal Youth", on its own terms it is a very listenable album, which sounds if anything more modern today than when it came out, and which, in "Love At First Sight", contains what must be a candidate for my nascent list of Fifty Most Important Songs. Everything about this song is near perfect, especially the first appearance of the bass, a few bars into the song, at which point you know you are in expert hands. It is, not unexpectedly given its provenance, the bass that really drives this song, but the subtle use of other instruments and vocals takes it to, as they say, the next level.

(Postscript: I realise that I had previously blogged The Gist, with the observation, or query, whether Richard Thompson played on this album. He didn't. I was getting confused with "The Sound Of The Sand And Other Songs Of The Pedestrian", by David Thomas and the Pedestrians, which came out at a similar time, was also on Rough Trade, also included Philip (but not Stuart) Moxham amongst it impressive list of musicians, and for a short but intense time was the most important record in my life. The horn line from its reggaefied take on "Sloop John B" continues to invade my internal jukebox notwithstanding that I haven't heard it since approximately 1987.)