The Bevis Frond

Son of Walter

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Coming after the early-'90s stretch of Bevis Frond releases, most of which were recorded with outside musicians, 1996's Son of Walter feels like a return to the one-man-band D.I.Y. feel of early Bevis Frond albums like Miasma. Nick Saloman recorded the album entirely on his own, playing all the instruments himself in his bedroom, and the results stretch out over two full-to-the seams vinyl discs or one well-packed CD. The difference is that Saloman has improved markedly as a songwriter in the intervening years, and the spottiness of those early albums, along with the wanky 15-minute acid rock guitar jams, is largely absent here. Opening with the one-two punch of "Plastic Elvis" and "Beautiful Sister," two of Saloman's finest songs, Son of Walter is an entirely credible successor to 1991's excellent New River Head, the album it most resembles in its mix of smart pop songs ("You Saw Me Coming" being another standout in that vein), cranky psychedelia, and folkish ballads. A new emphasis on keyboards, including some vintage synthesizers, gives the album a slightly different sound than before. Oddly largely ignored upon its release, Son of Walter is a hidden gem in the Bevis Frond catalog.

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