Thirty years. That’s how long it has been since the formation of the California based alt-rock outfit, Camper Van Beethoven, and how else do you celebrate 30 years in music? You release a brand new album of course.
Now if you need a quick history of Camper Van Beethoven, here it is. They formed in 1983 in Redland, CA, and released their first three independent albums within 18 months – between 1985 and 1987 – and their biggest hit came in 1989 with their cover of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men” only to then disbanded a year later. Once they disbanded, lead singer David Lowery went on to form the band Cracker, David Immerglück went on to join the Counting Crows and other members went on to play in the band, Monks of Doom. Eventually, Lowery, Jonathan Segel, and Victor Krummenacher began to collaborate in 1999, which lead to a reunion and that brings us pretty much up to date.
“La Costa Perdida”, is the eighth studio album from the band and the first new music from them since 2004’s “New Roman Times”. The current line-up features Victor Krummenacher on bass and baritone guitar, Greg Lisher on guitar, David Lowery on guitar and lead vocal, Chris Pedersen on drums, Jonathan Segel on violin, guitar, mandolin, organ, and backing vocals and Michael Urbano on drums and percussion and together it still has the same fun, funky and quirky vibe that made CVB the alt-rock pioneers that they are.
Camper Van Beethoven’s “Northern California Girls”
The album operates around a central theme of the band’s northern California roots and almost every track on the album can make even the hardest of souls long for a sandy beach and a sunny sky. In the album’s opening track, “Come Down the Coast”, our singer serenades his former loves and begs them to leave behind their lives, visit him and “come down the coast”. It gives off a cool, mellow vibe that makes you want to pack your bags and look for a bonfire on a beach, where you will surely find Lowery with a guitar singing this track.
All of the songs on the album have that distinctive sound that helped make CVB one of the pioneers of the alt-rock scene so many years ago. Plus, their ability to infuse that distinctive sound with so many other musical styles is what really makes quite a few tracks on the album stand out. For example, “Northern California Girls”, the first single off of the album has a very catchy simple riff that gives song an almost country western infused vibe to it and on the track, “You Gotta Roll”, a gritty, bluesy tone runs throughout the song and makes the track stand out from the others around it, but not to the point of being out of place. And of course what would a CVB album be without a toe tapping quirky little tune about the joys of killing people and running from the law by crossing the border and picking fruit by day. Sure, it doesn’t sound upbeat, but you’d be surprised.
The album is a fantastic effort from the band, who celebrates 30 years together this year, and according to a recent interview with Lowery there were seven additional songs recorded during this session, which he claims will be included on a follow up album due out sometime later this year.
The band is currently on tour through the end of February. For more details on upcoming shows, the new release, and any and all things CVB log on to their website at http://campervanbeethoven.com/fr_home.cfm or find them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CamperVanBeethoven
Written by Christina Lawler
OurVinyl | Contributor
[To purchase this album on iTunes just click here]