Sunday, March 3, 2024

Song(s) of the Day # 3,666 Bevis Frond


'Thank you for inviting me into your house like this. I hope you will enjoy this record.' Bevis Frond Heat

I've spent a couple of very enjoyable hours in the company of the latest Bevis Frond album Focus On Nature in the last couple of days. Nick Saloman has been doing this for over forty years now and it's worth sometimes paying attention to things like this and listening to what artists like this do and why they keep on doing it despite lack of general acceptance. 

I'm not a fan of everything Focus On Nature  does by any means. Sometimes Saloman's guitar squeals in a manner which I've never enjoyed and proceeds to do so for extended periods which aren't enjoyable experiences at all. I screwed up my face at times.Like a kid being told to wolf down his brussel sprouts by a concerned mother who thinks it's good for them.

 Sometimes Saloman reminds me of Roger Waters which is never a good idea where I'm concerned. I think I might be allergic to Roger Waters. The guitar solos frequently remind me of Dave Gilmour ones. I think I'm allergic to those too.

For the most part despite the moments which make me cringe I'm kept onside. Saloman is an eccentric with a vision mostly of his own devising. He's absorbed his influences and adapted them for his own purposes. That's all part of a noble English tradition which sets off with early Floyd and Soft Machine most obviously and carried on  through Punk and New Wave and on to everything that's come since. Barrett, Wyatt, Davies, Bowie... I'm sure you could add some more.

Saloman draws on early Psychedelia and Punk and the diversified approach he takes to them pays dividends, like an old school spin bowler striding in to the crease, Derek Underwood comes to mind. Serving up a classic over where no ball is quite the same as the last.

It's the ability to mix things up constantly which I appreciate most about the record. It's eighty minutes long and contains  nineteen songs which immediately makes you wonder whether it might have benefitted from watchful pruning. But this is essentially what the guy does so he's probably best left to get on with it.  The record also has a wonderful cover. Of a stalk of dandelion chaff. The kind you spent happy moments as a child sitting in a field blowing. Such happy moments.

What artists like this offer is a valuable public service. Voices in the wilderness. Old Testament Prophets. Those willing to swim against the prevailing tide. They serve reminders. Of the way we were. And perhaps can be again.

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