thu 25/07/2024

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature | reviews, news & interviews

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature

Further confirmation that Nick Saloman is one of the UK’s great musical stylists

The Bevis Frond's 'Focus on Nature': fantastic

Musically, the assured Focus on Nature knows exactly what it is. Fuzzy, psychedelic-leaning, folk-aware pop-rock with an emphasis on guitars about captures it. And what tunes – this 75-minute double album’s 19 songs are immediate, instantly memorable and stick, limpet-like, in the head. Even during “A Mirror’s” backwards guitar coda the song’s melody is still to the fore.

Lyrically, The Bevis Frond’s new album draws from main-man Nick Saloman’s concerns about where the world is – and shouldn’t be – heading, “I’m so tired of scary ecological forecasts” are the blunt opening words. The song, “Heat,” goes on to observe that the desire for profit ensures that those who could address climate change aren’t minded to do so as long as the money tap keeps pouring forth. Next up, the album’s title track. Here, a grey fox climbs onto the narrator’s knee and tells him that “these fine lands, they all belong to me, and I will grant you access so you may wander free and complete your focus on nature.”

Such fretfulness is counterbalanced by songs which – whether allusive or straightforward – draw from other aspects of what Saloman has experienced and how he sees things; a form of reportage. There’s a look at the overweening ego of an unspecified – maybe made-up – rock star, reflections on memories of a Seventies disco, the issues surrounding a late-night craving for fried chicken and, more obliquely, the resemblance of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing Vitruvian Man to an archetype which is everywhere and nowhere at once.

Nick Saloman is 70, has been recording as The Bevis Frond since the mid-Eighties and 2021’s Little Eden, his last album, was also a double and similarly fantastic. Successive Bevis Frond albums have been as consistent, as strong, as vital as Focus on Nature. Little Eden achieved a chart position of 44. There is no reason why Focus on Nature shouldn’t go higher.


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