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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Bevis Frond

Miasma

Review by Gary Hill

At the time this album was recorded in 1988, The Bevis Frond was one guy: Nick Saloman. To this day, it’s still his baby, but there are others involved. This was a home studio, DIY recording. You can tell in terms of the quality, (this was before the day of digital quality home studios everywhere) but it’s still very listenable. In fact, that kind of adds to the charm. I will say not everything here is progressive rock, but a lot of it qualifies, if only barely. It’s certainly experimental enough to land near RIO at times. Whatever you call this, though, it’s a cool release. This new version features a number of extra tracks from the original release.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Garden State

There’s a bit of music that reminds me of “When You Wish Upon a Star” at the beginning. Then a hard edged, psychedelic burst is heard. Something like a little kid’s voice comes in over the top of this chaotic (but cool) bit.   

She's in Love with Time
Some tentative elements start this. Then a rhythm section that leads me to think of Hawkwind comes into being. From there the cut turns into a psychedelically tinged jam that’s infectious. I love the sound of this thing and the vocal hooks.       
Wild Mind
This is noisy and strange. It’s not really my kind of thing, but it does have some charms.   
Wild Afternoon
An instrumental, this is noisy, but also very cool.    
Splendid Isolation
More of a mainstream psychedelic rocker, this is good stuff. It’s not prog, but it’s nice. There is a weird little echoed spoken section at the end.   
The Earl of Walthamstowe
Starting with acoustic guitar, this is a short, classically tinged instrumental. It’s definitely progressive rock in my book.
The Newgate
More of a straightahead raw rocking sound, this still has some proggy elements. It’s a bit like Hawkwind in some ways.
Release Yourself
This is a short bit of studio weirdness and laughter. It’s a brief and odd, take on “Please Release Me.”
Maybe
A cross between Hawkind and “Incense and Peppermints” would be pretty close to this.
Ride the Train of Thought
Prog and psychedelia work together on this infectious tune. The melodic jam late in the track is awesome and very proggy.
Confusion Days
There’s a weirdly processed spoken introduction to the song. This psychedelic rocker really does make me think of Hawkwind a lot of the time. There are some really cool sections in this and it’s a fun song.
Extra Tracks
   
Find My Way Home
I love the psychedelic rock meets proto prog sound on this thing. It’s a cool number with a some great hooks and a lot of energy. There are some great instrumental moments in this thing, and the vocals are powerful, too.
I Eat the Air
The first minute and a half or so of this is weird, but very cool, trippy sounds. Then it works out into a killer melodic prog jam. Some more weirdness takes it for a time, but it resolves back out to melodic prog again. Acoustic guitar takes it from there and then that fights with the weird keyboards for control. Ultimately the guitar rises up to take it to its close.
Song from Room 13
I like this rocker a lot. It’s more of a pure psychedelic rocker, but that killer bass line is quite proggy. It has some more proggy sections overall later, too. I like the guitar solos a lot, too. .
Need All Your Loving
This noisy, distorted rocker is rather punky. It’s alright, but not one that really works for me.
High Wind in the Trees
There is a bit of Byrds vibe to this psychedelic rocker. It’s an entertaining one.
South Hampstead Rain
Folk and psychedelia merge here. This is an entertaining one. In fact, it’s one of the most mainstream and easily accessible cuts here.
Looks Like Rain (No.1)
Another psychedelic rocker, this has some cool guitar soloing in the midst of it. I can make out some Hawkwind links here, too.
 
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