The Bevis Frond
Playing since the late 80s, Nick Saloman’s legendary Bevis Frond have been consistently keeping alive the woodsy, quirkier side of psychedelic rock. On this 1995 single, Saloman and crew blast out in full power.
The A-side is a true joy, a real acidic-punk kicker with great lyrics about a girl and her pad and her funky little dolly bug car (as shown on the picture sleeve). Musically, it’s a fairly unique track yet if forced into comparisons, it can sound not too unlike if Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young, Mudhoney, and the 1966 line up of Soft Machine all cranked up their amps and jammed out. From the thumping bass intro to the crashing drums and feverish, slashing guitar that both push the sensationally rocking vocals, every performance on this track is in top form. While the beat can be a total rush, something about the vocals and the guitar also possesses an element of relaxed cool at the same time. Catchy, heavy and highly entertaining, the only problem with “Dolly Bug” is that it’s only three and a half minutes. Any listener of this track could agree that it should at least be 45+ (or will be bringing the tone arm back to the beginning of the record over and over again.)
The B-side, “Green Park Saturday,” is a whole different beast altogether. Saloman plays all of the instruments here, which seems to include organ, drums, guitar and bass. This instrumental track sways with a waltz-like rhythm that’s lead mostly by a swirling organ that sounds vaguely early-Floyd like. Sure the track is slower than the A-side, but it does serve as a nice contrast to the former’s revved up adrenaline-run. One certainly needs a moment of chilling after “Dolly Bug” courses through the veins. At any rate, “Green Park Saturday” does sound much like what the title implies: a relaxed day out at a park on the weekend. Specifically, the vibe could be that of walking through a park on a partly-cloudy day when one doesn’t have to worry about work or school or any other commitment. The Englishness of this mid-90s psychedelic B-side is so enjoyably evident that one half-expects to hear Kevin Ayers or Jim Capaldi or Steve Marriott or even one of the Davies to start singing at any moment. It’s easy to get lost in this track, as it soothes and calms one’s mind and takes it to a more serene place…
…that is until the organ fades out to some stock recording of an audience’s mild-applause and what nearly sounds like a short snippet of The Three Stooges. Then one is reminded of Saloman’s excellent sense of humor and his great ability to make the listener smile.
Driving, torrential rock, surreal lyrics, chill pastoral vibes and good humor all wrapped up into one 7″. What more could a listener ask for?
PS: The Bevis Frond have a new record out and are currently touring. If you know what’s good for the soul, you’d be checking both of these facts out right now.