Welcome to the second part of the Vic Godard – 30 Odd Years review.
01 We’ll Keep Our Chains
A Bolan/Bowie-esque fuzzed out Glam start to Disc Two with a super catchy singalong with soaring soulful backing vocals that underpin this feel-good anthem! Wow, what a start!
02 Common Thief
With backing Vocals via Janan Kura and Sez Pistols legend, Paul Cook on Drum duties this track builds into a mini Northern Soul style Masterpiece with an inspirational Doobie Gray stomperlong that mirrors loves’ true ups and downs!
03 I Wish
A classic classy track written by the magical Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas team, with old friend Edwyn Collins on production control and also Bass, Backing Vocals and bits of corking Guitar work make this milestone track once dealt with by none other than giants such as Nina Simone and Solomon Burke, and even with an instrumental cool jazz version used by Barry Norman’s Film Review Show, which was as genuine, honest, heartfelt and bullshit free as this version.
04 The Writers Slumped
Off on a big tangent next with this angular P.I.L meets Rolf Harris whilst attending a Freestylers’ Dub-Step Show work-out that again shows that Vic and the Crew can do as they damn please!
05 Back In A Void Agian
A Stonesy/Bolan/Primals feel to this one with an Art-rocker snarl and just enough bite to hit home!
06 At The Circus
‘Singing In A Circus Ring’ exhales Vic as ringmaster with this catchy, clever Cha Cha Cha choon, with plucky plucked Melodies weaving and bobbing and the Sawdust hiding all manner of secrets!
07 Americana On Fire
Almost a spoken word chaotic intro with a Cash meets Clash via the Magic Band evoking a sorta drunken Tequlia border party, with great added Spagbowl-Western Postman style whistling!
Originally released as a 7 inch instant spikey classic in 1978 via Rough Trade, this was and remains one of my own personal fave, cherished possessions and still to this day makes the grey hairs stand up on the back of my neck (when once they were dyed jet black). The version icluded here is an alternative live sounding lolling rolling punky bluesy mash-up, which captures the fun and art but could never be a patch on the single version of course. I remember Billy Childish once stopping a show as he had spotted Vic in the crowd to say heartfelt words to the affect of ‘Thanks for ‘Ambition’ Vic, British music went downhill after that record!’ He really may have a point!
09 That Train
Localised references to Mortlake Station drive this garage-skiffle explosion that includes strange and painfully held long beyond long notes towards the jumbled conclusion. Short sharp and rollling! Taken from 2010s ‘We Come As Aliens’ LP.
10 Stool Pidgeon
Can be found also on the 2009 ‘Live In Stereo’ Collection and builds to a classic Indie Rock style affair as good as any of that ilk!
11 Why Did You Shoot Me?
Begins with a Talking Heads type feel, choppy, bouncey, angular and frenetic. Also taken from the ‘Live In Stereo’ Collection.
12 Derail Your Senses
A stop and start no-wave yarn that seems to confront delusion, confusion and the mystery of reality. It manages to make sense somehow.
13 Not Watching The Devil
Really great rounded Drum sound on this Elvis style rocker also from the ‘Live In Stereo’ Collection that buzzes along with excellent artful production from Murray Robertson and some sterling guitar work!
The opening track from 1993s ‘End of the Surrey People’ LP which has a slight Blur-esque feel and pace which was very much of it’s time in many respects. The guitar and bass weave through each other in this instrumental piece that sets up that LP nicely!
A George Formby style beano to the great traditional ‘British Northern Seaside Resort’ which shows Vic and the gang can capture a unique blend of pathos, fun, humour, irony, cheek, wit, honesty and nostalgia all in one place and space. Clever, charming, catchy and warming. Dada meets Music Hall and they have an ice-cream whilst paddling. Simply smashing and make you want to take a boozey punt of the Doney rides!
Troubled romance is in the air, daydreams escape to pastures anew, being kept on your toes spelt out clearly a la title! Curls of brass and vibes pinpoint the hooks with a perfect rhythm section that builds the atmosphere wherein danger lurks! Another cracker!
16 The Wedding Song
Bossa Nova romance with heart strung violins, plucked tickled tones, and breezy accordians in a sort of surreal Dean Martin romp in the sunshine.
17 Music Of A werewolf
From ‘We Come As Aliens’ – Spacey, Esquivel style swinging moonlight safari within a Joe Meek subliminal style soundscape shapes this horror-popper and keeps us guessing!
18 Take Over
Another tune from 2010s ‘We Come As Aliens’ features some classy screaming and offbeat capers. Paranormal paranoia can indeed be fun.
19 Back In The Community
Total cracker of a piece about ‘lessons in humility’ to get back to the ‘sense of community’, valid and well considered observations that ring true today.
20 Best Album
The opening track of ‘We Come As Aliens’ – swinging Indie Rocker with a hint of Southern sullen soul, builds into an almost Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons style chorus workout with subtle key changes, swirling yearning organ and smooth layers of backing vocals which are superbly engineered and produced to make this work wonderfully.
21 (Oh Alright) Go On Then.
A slightly obtuse and bitty sound on certain parts of this one (it may be my ears) but some great hornets nest style Sax work.
22 Johnny Thunders
The 1992 7 inch single that was released on Rough Trade that became a set-list fave extoling ‘C’mon boys quit this town forever!’ Vic always rated the late, great Thunders (RIP) as his guitar playing wove together groups of notes and not just chords and therefore a big step up from the Brit Punk that was displayed at the time which often seemed slightly frustrated and stunted by lack of ability to develop bigger sound ideas in the songs. This tune captures a genuine affection from a golden period in music.
23 Outro With Paul Reekie
Rightfully rounds off a fine, diverse and solid 30 Odd Years double CD collection which is well worth grabbing. Paul Reekie recounts the influence and affect that Vic and Subway Sect had on the Scottish Scene with bands such as Orange Juice, Josef K and The Fire Engines (and the entire Postcard Records sound) openly and proudly doffing their tartan caps in admiration. Maybe we should follow their lead and re-discover the true pioneer spirit that made for brave, risk taking and strong independent thinking with highly original and artful results.
We at eyeplug thank Vic and all of the various allies, musicians and various Subway Sect incarnations who have made these 30 Odd Years so wonderfully Odd, we salute your genuine Ambition.
I’ve been walking along down this shallow slope, Looking for nothing particularly.
Credits (where they are due)
Subway Sect: Bob Ward, Paul Myers, Rob Symmons, Colin Scott, Steve Spartan Atkinson, Johnny Britton, Chris Bostock, Dave Collard, Rob Marche,
Sean McCluskey, Becca Gillieron, Sophie Politowicz, Leigh Curtis, Paul Trigger Williams, Mark Laff, Gary Ainge, Kevin Younger, Mark Braby & Paul Cook
The Black Arabs & Paul and Terry Chimes, Pete Thomas & Jumping Jive, Working Week
The Bitter Springs: Simon Rivers, Dan Ashkenazy, Nick Brown, Paul Wizard Baker, Paul McGrath & Phil Martin
Mates Mates: Andrew Ribas Escandon, Andriu Luc Ma, Luca Ferran Font, Fim Jorbel Errapicas, Erra & Pau Orri Comerma, Pau
The Sexual Objects: Davy Henderson, Douglas Macintyre, Graham Wann, Ian Holford & Simon Smeeton
Vic Godard & Subway Sect
- What’s the Matter Boy? (1980), Oddball/MCA
- Songs For Sale (1982), London
- Long Term Side-Effect (1998), Tugboat
- We Come As Aliens (2010), Overground
- A Retrospective (1977-81) (1985), Rough Trade
- Twenty Odd Years – The Story of… (1999), Motion
- Singles Anthology (2005), Motion
- “Split Up the Money” (1980), Oddball/MCA
- ‘Stop That Girl’ (1981), Rough Trade
- ‘Hey Now (I’m in Love)’ (1982), London
- ‘Johnny Thunders’ (1992), Rough Trade
- ‘Won’t Turn Back’ (1993), Postcard
- ‘No Love Now’ (1996), Garcia
- ‘Place We Used to Love’ (1999), Creeping Bent
- T.R.O.U.B.L.E. (1986), Rough Trade
- End of the Surrey People (1993), Postcard
- In T.R.O.U.B.L.E. Again (2002), Tugboat
- ‘Stamp On a Vamp’ (1981), Club Left
- ‘Holiday Hymn’ (1985), El