Welsh post-punk band Young Marble Giants released one LP in 1980 and then, like their vanishing portraits on the album’s cover, disappeared. Even though Colossal Youth received positive reviews and sold surprisingly well, Young Marble Giants quickly slid into the margins of rock 'n' roll history—relegated to cult status among post-punk and indie rock fans. Their lasting appeal owes itself to the band’s singular approach and response to punk rock. Instead of employing overt political ideology and abrasive sounds to rebel against the status quo, Young Marble Giants filled their songs with restraint, ambiguity, and silence. The trio opened up their music to new sounds and ideas that redefined punk’s rules of rebellion.
Where did their rebellious ideas and impulses come from? By tracing Colossal Youth’s artistic origins from Ancient Greece to the 20th-century avant-garde, Michael Blair and Joe Bucciero uncover the intricacies of Young Marble Giants’ idiosyncratic take on music in the post-punk age. Emerging from the gaps in between the notes are new ways of hearing the history of punk, the political and economic turbulence of the late 1970s, and the world that surrounds us right now.