Leading off with none other than Country Joe McDonald doing an updated version of his notorious Woodstock cheer -- here titled "The Frond Cheer" -- Vavona Burr is, at base, yet another Bevis Frond album. It's manna to the true believers, the same old thing to detractors, and to most other listeners, not something they'll normally come across. For all that, it's another collection of self-recorded, plays-every-instrument-pop/psych-rock from Saloman, though, there's at least something a little different about Burr in comparison to much of Frond's past work. Hard to describe, perhaps, but there's a slightly crisper feeling in the recording, just a touch more sweetness and energy in Saloman's slightly mournful singing. It's a combination of little things, like the weird noises in the fun sci-fi surge of "Let It Ride"; given a back catalog as generally monolithic as the Frond's, however, these little things mean a lot. So while Burr isn't Frond at his absolute best, dismissing it as out of hand for one reason or another isn't the right approach either. As with just about everything Frond has done, there are at least a few songs that stand out from the pack. "National Drag" is a fun semi-romp, with some twangy guitar work and a marvelous mid-song solo, not to mention a catchy Saloman chorus. "Don Lang" has an honestly moody, creepy feeling to it, not totally far off from "96 Teardrops" in feel if not in actual melody, with a snaky sense of menace and groovy keyboards. "Begging Bowl" ends the album with a quietly inspirational feel and some fine guitar blasts, giving a good enough sense that no matter what happens, there will always be more Bevis Frond just around the corner.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett