Stuart Moxham – Personal Best

January 01, 1970




One forthcoming eagerly awaited new album is an upcoming
project from the too-long-neglected Stuart Moxham, whose smart, spare and
melodic pop songs with Young Marble Giants were some of the best to come out of
the British post-punk movement. There’s no date set yet, but he’s reportedly
busily at work in his home studio on The
Devil Laughs.


Meanwhile, his most recent project, Personal Best, which collects material from as far back as 1981 and
is the first on his own label hABIT, tantalizingly includes two new
compositions, the lovely “Autumn Song” and quietly reflective “Warning Signs
2.” Both have that last-embers-fading glow of a sad, sweet folk-rock ballad by,
say, Incredible String Band, and also show his easygoing, gentle confidence
with acoustic guitar. And “Autumn” reveals two fine harmony singers in daughter
Melody and father Terence. These two will be on an EP, Six Winter Mornings, that’s supposedly due soon.


Otherwise, the retrospective shows Moxham has an
effortlessly mellifluous voice – soft and wistful on the light reggae-funk of
“Remember” and electronica of “Settled 
Hash”; hauntingly foreboding on a 1993 duet with Barbara Manning, “My
First Gun,” from an album of hers that he produced, Barbara Manning Sings With the Original Artists. While the songs
here have a consistent pop structure, often very catchy as on 2007’s “Vampire
of Love,” they can also show the directness and blunt yet beautiful honesty of
a weary troubadour, like a Bert Jansch. “Save It,” like “Vampire” from a 2007
album called “Huddle House” that he made with Spanish guitarist Louis Philippe
that came after a divorce, hits you with lines like, “I’m bitter and I’m mad and you don’t have a clue/In your little world
there is just room for you.”
None of the 20 songs collected here is from
YMG or another of his bands, the G!st, but brothers Phil (from YMG) and Andrew
(The G!st) contribute to numerous selections. Both brothers are on the
celebratory, joyous yet slightly spooky “God Knows,” from 1993 Cars in the Grass.


It’s surprising how little-known this work is in the States
—   Moxham can stand proud with fellow
Brits Kevin Ayers or Wreckless Eric or even Robyn Hitchcock.  But hopefully this introduction can catch
folks up on his work, just in time for the new material to arrive.


DOWNLOAD: “Vampire of Love,” “Autumn Song” STEVEN


Leave a Reply