# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Bevis Frond - We're Your Friends, Man

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 24 / 12 / 2018

Bevis Frond - We're Your Friends, Man
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Enthralling twenty tracker from Nick Saloman’s the Bevis Frond, which, even at over twenty albums,is one of, if not the best, of his work

Where can one start when writing about Nick Saloman who is, for all intents and purposes, the Bevis Frond? About three years ago the Bevis Frond released an album titled ‘Example 22’, which was apparently the number of albums that had been released as the Bevis Frond up until 2015. It’s difficult to remember a time when Saloman’s name wasn’t synonymous with great music but explaining to the uninitiated just what a talent this man is and trying to pin down his music is difficult to say the least. For those who have followed Saloman’s career all you need to know is that he’s lost none of his vision or talent on this latest set. It’s more or less business as usual, and over twenty tracks and ninety minutes Saloman will deliver exactly what you expect him to with his usual flair and passion. The album is available as a gatefold sleeved double vinyl edition as well as the usual CD. That’s all you need to know; you know the rest, just go out and buy it and lose yourself in Nick Saloman’s musical world for an hour and half. Then do what you’ve always done; listen again. For newcomers; Fire Records have done you all a great big favour by releasing Saloman’s back catalogue and now Saloman, who usually issues his albums on his own Woronzow label has returned the favour and this latest collection appears on Fire Records. And you need to know this; if you like melodic pop/rock, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Jimi Hendrix, the Byrds even, coupled with an astute lyricist (something that Saloman isn’t always given credit for due in part because he’s just so bloody good in all the other areas of making music) then you can’t go far wrong with the Bevis Frond. Plus he throws in the occasional, reflective acoustic song just to keep things interesting. Before you dig deep on his back catalogue make ‘We’re Your Friends, Man’ your first Bevis Frond purchase. Then dig deep. That is everything you need as an introduction to this extraordinary talent which is spread across these twenty songs. There’s his skill on the guitar (and other instruments but, boy, can Saloman play the guitar) which is featured across the album. The classic pop songs, and the wig-outs and some of the best lyrics he’s ever written are all also on show here. Regular readers will be aware that a certain British singer/songwriter can do no wrong around these parts. Chris Wade, under his Dodson & Fogg project, is without a doubt one of our most prolific and talented musicians, and also a multi-instrumentalist who excels on guitar. Wade only started releasing music in 2012 and has so far self-issued around seventeen albums plus a handful of EPs. Although at times their music touches the same bases, Wade tends to lean more towards prog and folk than Saloman but if you’re a newcomer to Saloman’s work yet know of Chris Wade then give the Bevis Frond a try. You’ll no doubt be smitten. There are a good few similarities between the two musicians. ‘We’re Your Friends, Man’ could well be Saloman’s most personal album to date. The opening cut, ‘Enjoy’, is a melodic guitar-driven rocker with lyrics directed at his fans. It’s almost a rock ‘n’ roll love letter to those who have followed his career so far. “This is the sound of being left behind.” Err, have to disagree with you there, Nick, “This is the twenty-something swinging disc, and this is the last thing on your Christmas list.” Wrong again, Nick. It will be at the top of most of your fans list just for this killer track. “I wanted to make the masterpiece you waited for, but maybe I just can’t do it anymore. With the greatest respect, Mr. Saloman, you’ve just turned in what ranks up there with your very best, and, rest assured, that not only will your army of fans ‘enjoy’ the album but an album this strong and varied will pull in an even wider audience. With help from Ade Shaw on bass, guitarist Paul Simmonds and drummer Dave Pearce, it’s an excellent, rocking start to the album even if Saloman’s confidence seems to have taken a bashing. At six minutes the last half of the song is given over to an incredible guitar jam that is worth the price of the album alone. Want confirmation of why Young and Crazy Horse were mentioned above? Look no further. The title track follows and shows a completely different side to Saloman. An acoustic offering it shows why this writer just had to mention Chris Wade above; the dreamy vibe that Wade captures so well in his music is present here. So, Saloman’s vocal delivery owes more to Neil Young than Wade’s does but the overall feeling is there. ‘Pheromones’ is Saloman in punk-powerpop mode. Hook filled and irresistible, it’s also the owner of another short but brilliant guitar solo. Young and Crazy Horse float into mind again on ‘Lead On’ an eight-minute tour de force that will put a huge smile on the face of any Young fan. I’m almost tempted to say that I’d rather listen to ‘Lead On’ than some of Young’s latest work. It really is that good. Even at twenty tracks you can drop the stylus almost anywhere and be not only pleasantly surprised by the diversity of material on this album but by the playing; it really is first class. Space doesn’t allow a track-by-track break down; suffice to say that Saloman touches all bases here. But ‘Little Orchestras’ has to be mentioned. An acoustic ballad finds Saloman reflecting on his life and songs that meant something to him “Now little orchestras are playing ‘Heart Of Gold’ inside my head,” he sings. It’s one of the most affecting songs on the album and one that will resonate with many of Saloman’s fans who are of a similar age as this talented musician. When songs cut as deep as this one you can’t help but wonder if artists like Saloman realize how their words can help others get through difficult times. ‘We’re Your Friends, Man’ is Saloman’s reflective album in some ways. There are songs where he looks back on his life, where he realizes that time is running out and on the passing of friends. These songs whether gentle acoustic-based ballads or out and out rockers will hit home with so many. Those best of 2018 lists are probably all completed now; there will be many who wished they’d waited until they’d got their hands on ‘We’re Your Friends, Man’.

Track Listing:-
1 Enjoy
2 We're Your Friends, Man
3 Pheromones
4 Lead On
5 In The Leaves
6 Little Orchestras
7 Growing
8 A Hard Way To Learn
9 Young Man's Game
10 Venom Drain
11 Theft
12 Gig Bag
13 I Was A Bird
14 Old Wives Tales
15 When You Cast Me Out
16 Birds Of Prey
17 And Relax...
18 The Steeple Doesn't Reach The Sky
19 Mad Love
20 You're On Your Own

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