The Bevis Frond - London Stone - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Bevis Frond - London Stone

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2016-07-29

Although Martin Crowley continues to man the drum kit, Nick Saloman is still essentially THE Bevis Frond, aside from Barry Dransfield’s wonderful violin jig solo (on the traditional ‘Stonedance’) that opens the album. Following on from what many fans consider his career highlight, New River Head, Saloman continues to deliver an amazingly eclectic collection of material that seamlessly melds hook-laden pop songs (‘Coming Round’, featuring a lengthy, creative solo, ‘That Same Morning’, the heartbreaking, acoustic nostalgia of ‘On A Liquid Wheel’ that admittedly mines the same lyrical territory as New River Head’s ‘It Won’t Come Again’), dirty, gnarly blues skull pounders (the stalking, live favourite ‘Well Out Of It’, ) gorgeous, sentimental folk (‘Lord of Nothing’, once again featuring the always brilliant Dransfield’s tender touch), all-out rawk screamers like the Ted Nugent-meets-Tony (“Tough Shit”) McPhee ‘Living Soul’, and frustrating tossaways that could’ve used a tad more input from the quality control department (‘A Most Singular Hole’, ‘Freedom Falling’, ‘And Now She’s Gone’).

     Throughout, there’re loads of Saloman’s trademark inventive guitar solos, incisively poignant lyrics, and timely keyboard flourishes, re-establishing (via Fire’s reissue/reassessment program) that the early ’90s were a peak period for the Frond. With It Just Is, Sprawl, and Superseeder on the horizon, there are exciting times ahead for anyone just discovering this endearing, always-exciting, and still criminally under-appreciated artist.

     [Note to longtime fans: the half-dozen bonus tracks, including demo versions of ‘Coming Round’ and ‘And Now She’s Gone’ are the same that accompanied Rubric’s 2005 remastered reissue, so if you have that one, you don’t need this. But if you missed that, grab this for the punchy pop of ‘I Am Just A Child’ – another bitchin’ solo – and the reflective ‘Scavenger’, while fans of Saloman's wank-o-liciously demented solos of the Miskatonic variety will drool over 'Hail The Child Philosopher'. "Skin up, friend, and dig these sounds". Indeed!]

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