A hauntingly beautiful song by the Young Marble Giants that was released as a single in 1979 on Rough Trade Records. Quite obviously about the end of the world, this song is definitely a high point in the 'Giants sadly short lifespan. Stuart Moxham has written here an almost perfect song; under two minutes long and containing no drums (as a drummer, it's hard for me to admit this...), there is a perfect interplay between each element of the song and it makes for very compelling listening, although definitely not if people are being loud and rowdy - It's all too easy to miss this incredible song.

Opening with a high-pitched note that quickly rises and remains through the whole song, the rest of the music consists of soft, subtle combinations of keyboards, bass and guitar by Philip Moxham and Stuart Moxham. The music doesn't change much, but you can always find something in the tune that grabs your attention, and it is a credit to the song itself that Moxham did not opt to include any flashy solos etc. Alison Statton's voice is an excellent high and clear counterpoint to the low melodies present in the music. Three short verses and the whole song is over, ending with the high note coming to a very quick pitch reduction and fade.

Even with it's single only release, the song should be reasonably easy to track down. In 1994 the Crepuscule re-release of Colossal Youth contained the four tracks from the single in their entirety, and the song was also on the the compilations Wanna Buy A Bridge? and Rough Trade Shops: 25 Years, from 1980 and 2001 respectively. If you can get hold of the cassette-only (and I can hear all the kiddies; "Cassettes!?") compilation Rough Trade Records: 1978-1981 from 2001, do so, because it's great and the song's on there. Failing that, download it off the internet - It is definitely essential listening. The Young Marble Giants' Peel Sessions (released in 1988) contains an alternate version of this song. This song was also covered by Galaxie 500 and appears on their self-titled box-set.

In 'Art Rocker', the magazine that the RTR: 78-81 cassette came with, John Peel says about this song; "I played the records and they did stuff for the programme, but I wasn't a great fan at the time. But this seems to have aged really well, certainly not hopelessly outdated. You could draw a line through from this to things like Stereolab, and a whole lot of post-rock things and things like Low, with, unusually for the time, a clear and accurate woman's voice. There weren't alot about, much more shrieking, which I like, so they were accurate without being like Joan Baez. I didn't know they were now involved in Afro Celt Sound System, and although it's true those things anre cross-cultural, multi-fusion sort of things, they can also be bollocks. "What you need is reggae with bagpipes." No you don't.


When the rich die last
Like the rabbits
Running from a lucky past
Full of shadow cunning
And the world lights up
For the final day
We will all be poor
Having had our say

Put a blanket up on the window pane
When the baby cries lullaby again
As the light goes out on the final day
For the people who never had a say

There is so much noise
There is too much heat
And the living floor
throws you off your feet
As the final day falls into the night
There is peace outside
in the narrow light

Lyrics from purelyrics.com

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