The Bevis Frond - It Just Is - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Bevis Frond - It Just Is

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2016-10-03

Fire’s reissue series continues with The Bevis Frond’s seventh proper album, although sadly, they’ve elected not to include any bonus tracks, so fans who’ve already got it need not bother again. Once again, Nick Saloman plays all the instruments and, as with Any Gas Faster, he opts for a smoother, poppier sound, keeping most of the 18 tracks under five minutes (!) and even delivering what should have been massive hits in the utterly charming, headnodding toe tappers, ‘Time-Share Heart’ and ‘I Can’t Catch Up With You’. But that’s not to suggest you don’t get his trademark blazing guitar pyrotechnics, with crunching riffage and gnarly, smarmy biker vocals delivered in ‘Can’t Stop Lying’, ‘What’s It All About’ (complete with wild-eyed, sci-fi synth frippery), ‘Let Me Live’, et. al. There’s also an understated sadness hovering over the proceedings (‘Idiot Dance’, ‘Day One’, ‘A Sorry Tale’, ‘Time Piece’) as the album is dedicated to one of his guitar Gods, Ollie Halsall (Timebox, Patto, Boxer, Mike Oldfield, et. al.) who overdosed in Spain around the time the album was being recorded.

As usual, Saloman varies his compositions, such that it’s not all bombast and bloody fingers. ‘Idiot Dance’ is a dreamy excursion that may just touch on Halsall via lyrics like “Everything dies/Everything falls to pieces”, while ‘Day One’ bears a distinctly funereal organ solo around an elegiac, marching melody. ‘Terrible Day’ is another of Saloman’s incisive, slice of life observations (with nice little harpsichord flourishes), and ‘A Sorry Tale’ is a swaying, mournful little dittie with a killer melody that Saloman seems able to whip off at least once per album.

Saloman has always saved some of the best tracks for the end of his albums (a jab, perhaps, at major labels’ penchant for stockpiling the potentially most popular tracks at the top of the album), and ‘Not For Now’ and ‘Time Piece’ may be the best things here, tucked away near the end of Side 4! Dreamy, melodic, psychedelic, sad and resigned to accepting things you can’t control, it’s tissue time, boys and girls. And resignation also reigns over ‘And Then’ – one of the most uncompromising “Aw, fuck it's in the Saloman canon, ending with the immortal line “...and then we die”. Guess it could've been called 'Life's A Bitch'!

So it’s a little bit of everything from the Saloman kitchen sink approach to songwriting and, as usual, most of the offerings will stick around in your head long after the CD or LP is returned to its sleeve.

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