2000's Valedictory Songs, from its title on down, sounded like Nick Saloman had grown increasingly tired of the whole pop music thing and was on the verge of packing the Bevis Frond in. The title track of 2002's What Did for the Dinosaurs is only slightly less lyrically cranky -- Saloman faces the realization that he has, in fact, turned into his father and no longer has any interest in modern day pop music -- but musically, it's one of his most charming songs ever, a sprightly mix of acoustic guitars, electric sitar, and most notably, a full horn section and the vocal help of his daughter, Debbie Saloman, that resolves into a classic Bevis Frond electric guitar jam. The bookending closing track, "Dustbins in the Rain (What Did for the Dinosaurs Part II)," is a nearly 14-minute guitar duel that recalls such similarly lengthy workouts as "The Miskatonic Variations," although it's much more interesting and lively thanks to the real live rhythm section of bassist Adrian Shaw (Hawkwind) and drummer Andy Ward (Camel, Chrysanthemums). In between, Saloman delivers a staggering 16 slices of his trademark psych-pop in the manner of sprawling Bevis Frond classics like 1991's New River Head. Among the highlights are the ultra-catchy "The Wrong Side," with a morse-code guitar riff that's among the most memorable hooks Saloman has yet produced, and the Byrdsy "Silver Dart." The overall tone is more upbeat than Saloman's been in ages, making What Did for the Dinosaurs one of the Bevis Frond's finest albums in their extensive catalog.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason