Album review

Camper Van Beethoven - Cigarettes And Carrot Juice: The Santa Cruz Years

California's CVB were prototypical alt.rockers with a penchant for campfire punk, mutated folk-blues, ska, weird Slavic polka and absurdist lyrics. Telephone Free Landslide Victory (1985) was a scattershot debut, ranging from the bizarre ("Where The Hell Is Bill?") to the exhilarating ("Take The Skinheads Bowling"). By the 1986 follow-ups II & III and Camper Van Beethoven, they had become thrillingly tight and tough (though no less surreal—see "ZZ Top Goes To Egypt"), prompting an ill-prepared move to Virgin after 1987 EP Vampire Can Mating Oven (here augmented with extras as 1993 compilation Camper Vantiquities). The fifth CD—Greatest Hits Played Faster—captures their crumpled, inspirational live brilliance just before splitting in 1990.

Rating: 4 / 10


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