Camper Van Beethoven Biography
by Dan Moos
PopMatters Music Critic
If you are a Camper Van Beethoven geek, you're gonna love this. And if you're not, you still should buy this CD to play for the stranger moments of each day. Long Live CVB is not just a collection of B-sides, outtakes, live recordings, and weirdness strung together to get some more dollars out of the fan's pockets and into theirs (like the recently released and disappointing Mekons collections).
Rather Long Live CVB takes all those outtakes and strange sounds left on dusty tape reels and lays them over each other to make new conglomerations of CVB noise. This CD moves from the opening track, "Broadcasting Live from the MCI -Worldcom- AT&T- Diamler- Chrysler- Mitsubishi- Phillips- BASF- LG- Morris- BP- Texaco- Pfizer- AOL-Time-Warner- Boeing- Microsoft- Aeroflot- United- Yoyodyne Coliseum, Strom Thurmond City, Mars," a Man or Astro Man? intro if I ever heard one, to "L'Aguardiente's" spinning fiddles that take me back to the dizzy and drunken dancing of last year's Greek Festival (or the bottle of aguardiente I drank in college), to the Throbbing Gristle-esque thumps and tape manipulations of "Loose Lips Sink Ships."
What CVB has done on this CD, beyond supplying their endearing public with more weirdness and odd tracks for their shelves, is build songs out of snippets of found CVB objects. For four days in 1999, Campers Victor Krummenacher, David Lowry, and Jonathan Segel, sped up live tracks, slowed down audience tapes, cut and pasted odd bits of half songs, radio bits, and (sounds to me) weird sounds. In a true postmodern sense, CVB takes pastiche to the limit where they recreate themselves on this CD. This is 21st century Camper Van Beethoven. Like so much of CVB's music, this CD doesn't quite take itself seriously: rollicking fiddles spliced with Zeppelin riffs, Zappa covers that sound worse and weirder than Zappa himself, disco beats, Hammond organ percussion switches, circus music. But without all this, Long Live CVB wouldn't really be a CVB album.
Don't expect Key Lime Pie, don't expect "Take the Skinheads Bowling." But do expect full-on CVB wackiness that changes themes faster your dad can surf through all the cable channels. It's all here, from tape loops to dusty demos. If nothing else, buy this CD simply for the full-blown epic orchestral version of "All Her Favorite Fruit." I had tears in my eyes.
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