- by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2016-09-30 Label: Fire
The drug connotations of the title of The Bevis Frond’s 11th album (not to mention the funky ‘Stoned Train Driver’ and the magnificent pop ballad ‘Could You Fly Higher’) are not lost on longtime fans, who’ve always found more than a few touches of the old psychedelia hovering throughout the Frond discography. A few years ago, the live Frond regularly fried brains, ate flowers, and kissed babies with versions of the title track (‘Superseeded’) that often exceeded half an hour and certainly held sway over an audience of super seeded punters out for a wild night on the town. Here is the studio version, which still packs a punch at a “watered down” 11:00. And it starts with wah-wah-ing sitars before Nick Saloman kicks his guitar into, er, high gear! Fans of the paint-peeling guitar workouts won’t be disappointed. And the 17-minute ‘Mountains of Madness’ goes even further into air guitar heaven and noggin’ noodlin’ euphoria!
All Frond albums deliver an abundant combination of 6-string wankery and gorgeous, unforgettable pop toetappers, and the latter are represented here by some of his best in the jingly, jangly ‘Jaye’, the tender acoustic ditties ‘Could Be’ and ‘The Queen of May’, and the campfire singalong, ‘Golden Walks of London’.
‘Dolly Bug’ and ‘Stoned Train Driver’ highlight the wonderfully nimble fingerwork of bassist Ade Shaw, who quietly has amassed an amazing string of subtly intricate basslines throughout his long association with the Frond and through numerous excellent solo albums that are worth your time and dosh. The Frond don’t delve into the blues all that often, but when they do (as on the latter), they get down and funky with the best of them, from Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and Bluesbreakers’ work, through Savoy Brown and Paul Butterfield, to name but a few.
‘Animal Tracks’ is a pun on an old Animals’ album title (released in the US and UK in two completely different versions with different, um, Animals’ tracks) and you’re guaranteed to pass out if you try to replicate Nick Saloman’s recitation of the lengthy, autobiographical lyrics about a “middle-aged freak with a gut like a whale” without taking a breath! And there’s a surprising little piano-driven headswayer, ‘Sue Me’ to put smiles on your faces as it tells what sounds like another autobiographical rant dressed up in sweet cream with a cherry on top.
If there are any regrets, it’s that Fire has elected not to add any bonus tracks, so this is just a straight reissue that newbies will enjoy adding to their Frond collections, but old timers will (or should) already have it in theirs.