Picks and Pans Review: Camper Van Beethoven
Maybe it was inevitable that '60s acid rock and down-home country would come together on a single album. But the music of this California quintet is still somewhat of a surprise. The band's third album defines a whole new genre of country psychedelia with the fiddlin' ditty Hoe Yourself Down. That's followed by Peace & Love, which uses chanting and recitation in the style of vintage Velvet Underground to recount a druggy dream voyage, including the birth of a child with three umbilical cords and snakeskin cowboy boots. In Joe Stalin's Cadillac, David Lowery sarcastically muses about cruising in Caddies that belong to Stalin, Chile's Gen. Augusto Pinochet and Lyndon Johnson, among other world leaders past and present. Though a lot of CVB's music comes across as an in-joke that no one will understand, there are still enough weird touches to keep dumb-humor mavens happy. Witness the jacket credits: "How can I begin to tell you of Crispy Derson? Crispy Derson the Legendary Drummer! Crispy Derson the wearer of Wigs! It is said by many that he resembles much Rasputin many when he plays on his Dum-Bek." If any of that makes sense to you, then you're a potential CVB fan. The more literal-minded should proceed, too, but with a little more caution. (Rough Trade)
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