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'Auntie Winnie / Looking Glass /Triptych'   

-  Label: 'Fire Records'
-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '25th August 2017'

Our Rating:
I have been putting off this review for a while, not because I dislike this artist, far from it, but simply because, with well over three hours of music to consider, the scale of the undertaking seemed so daunting.
To save myself time now, and to avoid repeating myself on biographical information, I can refer you to my review of the three albums re-released by Fire Records in September 2016: Superseeder, Sprawl and It Just Is.

Fire are also responsible for this latest batch of three reissued albums that were produced on white, purple and transparent vinyl for Record Store Day 2017 to mark the band's 30th Anniversary.

The Bevis Frond is, it should be said, not a band at all but the work of Nick Saloman; a prolific one man record industry, like a stoner UK version of Jandek.

'The Auntie Winnie Album' was initially released in 1989 on Reckless Records with a companion piece - ‘Bevis Through The Looking Glass’ (a signed limited-edition record of 500 copies). It contains previously unreleased material from Saloman's extensive archives.

Always good on song titles, 'Winnie' includes Malvolio's Dream Journey To Pikes and Automatic Bomb Virgins. A ten and half minute freak out of City Of The Sun is the longest tune.

The Looking Glass record also features two sprawling cuts 1970 Home Improvement (13:52) and The Shrine (19:39) as well as snappier pieces like Express Man and I Can’t Get Into Your Scene. One novelty item is the closing track, Alistair Jones, a home demo recorded in 1967 when Nick was just 14 years old.

While the tracks on these two records were not originally recorded with a specific album in mind, Triptych is Saloman's official third album. By his standards it's a more disciplined work and ranks as one of the picks of his impressive discography.

It contains Lights Are Changing, possibly his best known song largely because it has been covered by Mary Lou Lord and others. There's also a playful one and a half minute version of Hey Joe as a tribute to his hero Jimi Hendrix.

The majority of tracks (e.g. Nowhere Fast and Still Couldn’t See Her) are short and punchy enough to qualify as garage punk rather than the generally more accurate label of psych-rock. However, this uncharacteristic self control breaks down with Tangerine Infringement Beak, a monster near 20 minute track with freaky lyrics ("outta sight, outta mind outta my head") that Julian Cope would be proud of.

If you were investing in vinyl, Tryptych is without doubt the best of these three re-releases but I'm fast reaching the conclusion that all and any of The Bevis Frond catalogue could be convincingly classed as essential.
  author: Martin Raybould

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BEVIS FROND, THE - Auntie Winnie / Looking Glass /Triptych