Camper Van Beethoven - New Roman Times (Music CD)

Release Date: 23 February 2015
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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. ~ Stewart Mason

More Detail

  • 1. Prelude
  • 2. Sons of the New Golden West
  • 3. 51-7
  • 4. White Fluffy Clouds
  • 5. That Gum You Like Is Back in Style
  • 6. Might Makes Right
  • 7. Militia Song
  • 8. R'n'R Uzbekistan
  • 9. Sons of the New Golden West (Reprise)
  • 10. New Roman Times
  • 11. The Poppies of Balmorhea
  • 12. The Long Plastic Hallway
  • 13. I Am Talking to This Flower
  • 14. Come Out
  • 15. Los Tigres Traficantes
  • 16. I Hate This Part of Texas
  • 17. Hippy Chix
  • 18. Civil Disobedience
  • 19. Discotheque CVB
  • 20. Hey Brother
  • 21. Los Tigres Dub
  • 22. Alien Ghost Song
  • 23. It's Gonna Rain
  • 24. Might Makes Right Dub
Release Date: 23 February 2015
Catalogue No: OVCD113