The Gaping Yawn
Comet Coming Down
Quack No Duck
Berit's Cliff House
Ancient Space Mariner
Running Time: 44 mins
Joe Gideon – Armagideon (Clouds Hill)
Ex-Bikini Atoll man returns with a deeply dark and personal meander through Brexit, the end of the world and a human barometer who can predict extreme weather conditions. Alternating sparse piano led passages and dense brooding layers, generated by Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos and multi-instrumentalist Gris-De-Lin, give Joe a rich palate with which to describe vivid landscapes to draw you in. With an end of the world theme recurring throughout, interspersed with Jim Morrison-like poetry circa American Prayer, these are songs that demand to be listened to and like all classic albums, give up a little more for the listener on each subsequent play. I should really have left this to last to review as it has been on heavy rotation in the MANCANDI office. I’m reminded in parts of Morphine’s – Like Swimming album, Johnny Cash, Lou Reed, The National, Jim Morrison/Doors, Echo and The Bunnymen and the elephant in the room, Nick Cave. Like all complex things though this is more than just the sum of its parts.
The opening track and current single, Expandable Mandible, tells the story of a man with metal teeth, a titanium skull and replica jaw who is deeply and uncontrollably affected by the weather, “when the isobars get stressed, he inadvertently roars, like a man with Tourette’s, can hardly speak at all. Farmers take heed and run for the hills when they hear him cry!” Joe’s delivery evokes shades of Nick Cave as the song rumbles to a climax driven along with hypnotic bass, shards of saxophone and deliciously off-kilter drums. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfytREOEL1E
The Gaping Yawn, with its Garden of Eden reference, conjurs up the imagery of falling deep into an abyss from a cliff top, an awakening of the mind as you achieve “primordial bliss”, part spoken delivery reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings era.
Comet Coming Down continues the impending apocalypse vibe, highlighting the fragility of human kind, that you’re going down the same, rich or poor. “Time to make your peace with the Lord or at very least your in-laws”, dark humour to make you smile.
Throughout the rest of the 8 tracks Joe continues to share his private thoughts, touching on illegal immigrants found frozen to death inside airplane undercarriages (Rule Roost), a sharp dig at those flag waving Brexiteers who believe by being a big fish in a little pond, they get their country back.
Salty sees a run of 4 tracks which slow the tempo down and creates a more mellow vibe as the album drawls to a close with Quack No Duck - www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY7MxOKaErM
Berit’s Cliff House (a song about his mother intertwined with Brexit) and finally to the Ancient Space Mariner, a beautiful sprawling close to what is quite simply an enthralling and rewarding 44 minutes of music.
Armagideon is out now on Clouds Hill Records
For Fans Of: Nick Cave, The National, Morphine, Tom Waits and Harry Stafford.