The Bevis Frond: Reissues

Late-80s albums by hugely prolific UK songwriter.

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Nick Saloman, aka The Bevis Frond, really ought to be as big as the Pixies. Maybe he didn’t look the part, maybe he didn’t keep himself scarce enough, releasing too many records.

Or maybe there was something about his deliberately mundane, towerblock, patterned-carpet Britishness, a counter to the creeping, neo-psychedelic beauty of his guitar stylings that barred him from commercial success. Whatever, to know his work and world is to love and get lost in it.

Triptych (810) was the third Bevis Frond album released in 1988, a typical mixture of the guitar sublime and the self-deprecating, highly personal and whimsical (including a link from his then four-year-old daughter). Its ascending opening chimes are Byrdsian, heavenly, but the Robert Wyatt-esque drones of Corinthian bring us back to earth.

The Auntie Winnie Album (810) again balances a sense of domesticity (the album is dedicated to his late aunt) with the wan, hurricane beauty of FiveYears Wide.

Bevis Through The Looking Glass (710) is a collection of outtakes originally issued in 1987, though in truth all of his songs feel like outtakes – brilliant but slightly unconsidered. Nevertheless, the likes of Rat In A Waistcoat goes to the same places as Dinosaur Jr were going to while getting far wider acclaim./o:p

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.