The Gist was formed by Stuart Moxham as a side project from his post-punk/twee pop pioneering band Young Marble Giants, but their first single appeared on the racks six weeks prior to the split of YMG, in December of 1980. Embrace the Herd, the group's lone LP, was released in May 1981. Reviewed favorably but not quite as glowingly as Young Marble Giants, the record shared a similar knack for dynamic but understated arrangements. A couple singles followed afterward, with the band dissolving by 1984 or so. For the Gist, Moxham recorded with a number of friends rather than a fixed set of bandmates. Former YMG members Alison Statton and Phil Moxham helped out, as well as various people from fellow Rough Trade artists Essential Logic and Swell Maps. Moxham later issued a number of records under his own name.