The Bevis Frond: Nick Saloman (various instruments); Graham Cumming (piano).
Includes liner notes by Nick Saloman.
Recording information: The Bedroom on a Tascam Porta One (1987).
The 2001 reissue of the Bevis Frond's second album, 1987's Inner Marshland, doesn't have significantly better sound than the original Reckless CD, which had been out of print for years. (Like all of the Bevis Frond's early albums, Inner Marshland was recorded on a four-track Portastudio in Nick Saloman's bedroom, so there's a limit to how good this material can be made to sound.) However, the album does feature, in addition to extensive liner notes by Saloman himself, six previously unreleased outtakes from these 1987 sessions. It's a wonder that there were tracks left over at all, as Inner Marshland is the second full-length album Saloman had recorded in the space of a year. While one might reasonably expect this album to consist of leftovers from the sessions for Miasma, these 11 songs are largely more concise and direct than on the debut, with only the overlong backwards-tape ending of "Window Eye" succumbing to tedium. Even the seven-and-a-half-minute "Once More" never overstays its welcome, although the poetry segment (which sounds like Eric Idle reading Graeme Edge's poetry from old Moody Blues albums) might have gone by the wayside. Of the bonus tracks, "The Great Mistake," the wistful "Walking in the Lady's Garden" (featuring a great extended solo on some kind of cheap electronic keyboard), and the hard-rocking "Slave" are actually better than much of the album proper. The poppy "Run at the Sun" and the droning, trippy "Parasynquiry" are lesser efforts, though the rollicking organ instrumental "Solid Vimto" has a sort of lightweight charm. ~ Stewart Mason