THE GIST : This Is Love 7" (1980)

Stuart Moxham formed The Gist in 1980, following Young Marble Giants' fractious break-up. Their debut, this brilliant double A-side* 7" on Rough Trade, can't help but leave you ruminating on how a second YMG album might've sounded. Immediately following this single's release, & debilitated following a serious motorcycle accident, Stuart descended into the financially impoverished, Eno & LSD-inspired isolationist home recording sessions that culminated in The Gist's terrific, oft-ignored Embrace The Herd LP. It's been a particular favourite of mine since I picked it up for less than a quid back in the 90s, purely on the strength of spying Epic Soundtracks' name in the credits & noticing that it was recorded at This Heat's Cold Storage studio. In spite of sketchily evident stylistic similarities with contemporaries such as Marine Girls, Stuart's music has always shrugged off any lazy accusations of twee-ism by virtue of it's abiding spikiness, a persistent emotional distance that, though vague, is attendant throughout. Disappointingly, Stuart doesn't seem too keen on the Embrace The Herd personally: "It's a symbol of my misery & lack of direction at that time. There's very few lyrics on it, for example, because I had nothing to say." Apparently he prefers the original 4-track demos. To which the only sensible response is surely "Release the demos then!"? There's a slightly painful interview here that perhaps provides some reasoning for this brittle impetus behind his music. Bear in mind it's almost 20 years old though, & that Stuart's situation has, as far I understand, improved immeasurably in the interim. Hole's cover of "Credit In The Straight World" put food on the table for a couple of years, & Young Marble Giants' recent Domino-bankrolled reformation has been ecstatically received. Crikey, a happy ending for once!

Embrace The Herd has been lovingly reissued on CD (you can buy it here) but, despite a number of welcome additions, neither "This Is Love" or the later "Fool For A Valentine"7" are included, an enormous shame as far as I'm concerned.

This Is Love

*Actually it's not a double A-side.... but it should've been.


  1. Anonymous3.7.10

    thanks, bought this the day it hit the Rough Trade store in SF and have missed it for years!

  2. It's a great single, such a shame more folk don't know about it...