What we have here is idiosyncratic individuality on an entertainingly eccentric, possibly borderline lunatic, scale. We have songs inspired by Werner Herzog getting shot in the gut whilst being interviewed by Mark Kermode (The Insignificant Bullet), true stories about being invited three years in a row to Elvis the dog’s birthday at the Queen’s Park bandstand, references to impersonating a priest, a cat called Sylvester, ping-pong, badly negotiating the London Underground doobied up to the eyeballs and ending up at the end of the line (You, The Pole, and The Rastafarian)….
Joe Gideon was one half of the acclaimed sibling duo Joe Gideon & The Shark. After JG&TS called it a day in 2013, Gideon called on the assistance of friend, neighbour and drummer Jim Sclavunos (Grinderman/Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) to try out an arsenal of songs, and to see if Gideon could even play the guitar again, after a wrist injury put him out of action for the best part of a year. (Jim and Gideon became friends after JG&TS toured with the Bad Seeds on their Dig Lazarus Dig tour back in 2008).
Together they laid down the foundations of ‘Versa Vice’, recorded by Rich Matthews, and finished by Gideon at home, after further assistance by friends Ed Harcourt (piano/organ) and Duke Garwood (horns) on a handful of tracks. The album was mixed by Head (PJ Harvey, Smoke Fairies), and here you have it.
Versa Vice is a rollicking storytelling romp through themes of love (see The Lady With The Metallic Voice) and madness (see Eugene Went Crazy, inspired by photographer W. Eugene Smith, or his cover of Porter Wagoner’s Rubber Room), executed sharply with a post-punk new-wave bent (Naked Eye, Heart Attack Girl) or with meditative tenderness (The Past Is Never Over). Opener Eve’s Rib is a heralding cry of intent, pierced through with Sclavunos’ fierce drums which drag you out of your chair.
Fans of Joe Gideon & The Shark will no doubt recognise and appreciate the same spirit of his previous output, with his genuinely eccentric and character-driven tales of falling apart at the seams, but Versa Vice is more than just Joe Gideon sans Shark. Let off the leash, instead of losing himself to feral abandon, Gideon’s music has become more succinct, the music more immediate, the voice louder and clearer.
A Constellation Of Broken Teeth
Anything You Love That Much You Will See
Black River Falls
Cars Hiss By Your Window
Clear Water Gravity
Eugene Went Crazy
Heart Attack Girl
Heart On A String
Hide And Seek
I Turned A Blind Eye
Johan Was A Painter And Arsonist
Mr & Mrs Dead
Nine Bells Of Hell
One Last Cull Pt 1 & Pt 2
Pale Blue Dot
Perfect Method Flawed
The Good Drugs
The Lady With The Metallic Voice
The Past Is Never Over
You Don’t Look At A Tidal Wave A Tidal Wave Looks At You
You The Pole And The Rastafarian