Thursday, January 24, 2013

Camper Van Beethoven: "La Costa Perdida" (album review)

After nearly a decade with no new studio material, David Lowery's more-avant garde project, Camper Van Beethoven, is back.  The iconic college rock band released their new album La Costa Perdida, this week.

CVB albums are usually difficult to get into.  There are only a handful of tracks on each one that grab you immediately.  That may be the case moreso now than ever.

As a whole this batch of songs is more contemplative than what we're used to hearing out of CVB.  The deconstructed din that often challenges listener's eardrums is mostly absent.  In it's place is a greater emphasis on Spanish sounds which, given the album's title, shouldn't come as a complete surprise.

Backing vocalists are even recruited for several tracks.  Ansley Stewart and Velena Vego make "Too High for the Love-in" a hook-heavy delight that catches you off guard.

The band even take a romantic turn.  Well, as romantic as one can expect them to be.  That comes on the swaying "A Love for All Time".

That's not to say that the customary sounds are gone totally.  The electric violins are in full squeal mode on the trance-enducing "Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out".  "Peaches In the Summertime" is part ska-stomp, part-hootenanny.

Quirky, humourous lyrics are another hallmark for CVB.  On this record there are none better than "Northern California Girls", a song that pokes fun at all of those odes to bleach-blonde beach bunnies.

La Costa Perdida may be the least inaccessible album in Camper Van Beethoven's catalogue, so it doesn't suffer from some of the lows of previous records.  Unfortunately, it never really attains the soaring heights either.

Best tracks: "Northern California Girls", "Too High for the Love-in"

Track listing for La Costa Perdida:
  • Come Down the Coast
  • Too High for the Love-in
  • You Got To Roll
  • Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out
  • Peaches In the Summertime
  • Northern California Girls
  • Summer Days
  • La Costa Perdida
  • Aged In Wood
  • A Love for All Time

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