Sunday, April 08, 2007

Camper Van Beethoven "New Roman Times" 2004

Camper Van Beethoven "New Roman Times"
Release Date Oct 13, 2004

Review by Stewart Mason
In 2002, Camper Van Beethoven reunited for a nationwide tour on what seemed like a whim, occasioned by a closet-cleaning belated issue of a song-by-song cover of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, an album they'd recorded as a joke back in 1987. The tour must have gone really well, because unexpectedly, the full band — the original lineup of David Lowery on vocals and guitar, violinist Jonathan Segel, guitarist Greg Lisher, bassist Victor Krummenacher, and drummer Chris Pedersen, with alumni Chris Molla and Monks of Doom cohort David Immerglück pitching in — trooped into the studio to record an all new album that, surprisingly enough, stands with the group's finest work. A loosely connected semi-rock opera telling the story of a Texas teenager who joins the military after a 9/11-like event, becomes disillusioned, and joins an anti-government militia, this is the most explicitly political record of Camper Van Beethoven's career, resurrecting and amplifying the themes that colored the band's last two albums, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie. While some of Lowery's trademark surrealist jokes and hilarious one-liners factor into these songs, there's an undeniable darkness to the album, both lyrically (the story seems to end with the ex-soldier becoming a suicide bomber) and musically. The band's usual forays into faux-ethnic instrumentals, country, and psychedelia are less lighthearted than before, but their tour-sharpened chops are intact, making this the tightest, best-sounding album of their career. In particular, the sardonically folky "Militia Song," the deep-psych swirl of "I Hate This Part of Texas," and "Come Out," which is built upon Steve Reich's 1966 tape-loop piece of the same title, show the group's effortless eclecticism, and the bitter "Might Makes Right" and the Twin Peaks-quoting "That Gum You Like Is Back in Style" are as good as any songs Camper Van Beethoven did in the '80s. Like their fellow college rock stars Mission of Burma and Antietam did earlier in 2004, Camper Van Beethoven have pulled off the difficult trick of not only reuniting, but picking up exactly where they had left off.

1 Prelude Lowery, Segel 0:55
2 Sons of the New Golden West Molla 2:55
3 51-7 Lowery, Segel 4:43
4 White Fluffy Clouds Immergluck, Krummenacher ... 5:00
5 That Gum You Like Is Back in Style Hickman, Lowery 4:56
6 Might Makes Right Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 2:46
7 Militia Song Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 2:10
8 R 'N' R Uzbekistan Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 1:13
9 Sons of the New Golden West (Reprise) Molla 0:21
10 New Roman Times Lowery, Segel 4:47
11 The Poppies of Balmorhea Krummenacher, Lisher ... 3:23
12 The Long Plastic Hallway Lowery 5:09
13 I Am Talking to This Flower Immergluck, Krummenacher ... 2:30
14 Come Out Reich 1:44
15 Los Tigres Traficantes Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 2:30
16 I Hate This Part of Texas Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 2:45
17 Hippy Chix Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 4:28
18 Civil Disobedience Segel 6:14
19 Discotheque CVB Immergluck, Krummenacher ... 5:58
20 Hey Brother Krummenacher, Lisher, Lowery ... 2:44
MP3 192 kBpS


Blogger jay strange said...

very nice to see you posting on cvb..definately one of my favourite bands ever (nice to see a michael penn post too) have to agrre with you about new roman being their finst album..and thats saying something when you concider the magnificent back catologue....
just to mention the story put out by the band about tusk being a long lost vitage recording is bogus...they have fessed up)in fact they did it only a few years back as an exercise to see if they could work together again.....
the thing with campers is its not just the parent band that are genius so9 are all the off shoot bands..particularily monks of an amercarna king crimson but with real songs... jonathan segel has many brilliant band and solo albums to his name...check out the magnetic records website for of all victor krummenacher is a brilliant songwriter and all of his albums are sensational...hes just started up a website to coinside with his new album..the cock crows at sunrise..and over at the download page are four excellent outtakes and a brilliant radio show from a couple of weeks back with a great band that includes jonathan and greg from cvb and bruce kaplin from american music club...go check it out here

4:29 PM  
Blogger jay strange said...
check out this absolutely sensational monks of doom show over at the internet archive

4:33 PM  
Blogger jay strange said...
and this lovely segel set from the first campout festival

4:38 PM  
Blogger jay strange said...
jonathans band from the early ninties more soundboard delights from the segel vaults

4:41 PM  
Blogger jay strange said...
finally jonathans other band jack and jill...theres also a hundred plus cvb show over at the archive
all the best

4:43 PM  

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