Bevis Frond Valedictory Songs

After last year's surprisingly good live album, Nick Saloman's Bevis Frond has upped the ante again. Unlike the last few records, which has seen Saloman play all the instruments himself, this time around he has opted to record with his long-time touring mates, former Hawkwind bassist Adrian Shaw and onetime Marillion drummer Andy Ward. Valedictory Songs stands up against the rest of the band's catalogue as perhaps the single best Bevis Frond album ever. By deciding to spend more time writing hooks than playing the guitar martyr, Saloman has penned and recorded 17 new songs that are decidedly much shorter in length than on previous releases and has improved the band's studio craft by doing so. Not to say there's anything wrong with a good bit of guitar wank now and then, but if this album does end up being the swan-song some suspect, they will definitely be going out on the top of their game. (Rubric)