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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Camper Van Beethoven

Key Lime Pie

Review by Gary Hill

Ethnic, alternative and art rock styles are combined on this album to create a very intriguing soundscape. The vocal work on the album is in a style which seems like a marriage of David Byrne and Fred Schneider vocal styles. The musicians here are Morgan Ficher, Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, David Lowery, Chris Pederson and side musicians.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Opening Theme
Based in klesmer modes and featuring several interesting false endings, this in a very interesting instrumental. A nicely creative piece, this one serves as a wonderful opening to the album.
Jack Ruby
This track is based on a nice alternative guitar drone which combines elements of The Byrds with bands like REM and The Smiths. A tasteful guitar solo runs through much of this track adding a nice tension and flavor to the piece. This is a very strong composition that features a considerably creative arrangement.
Sweethearts
Seeming to combine `60`s pop sensibilities with a mildly countryish texture, this piece even includes some twangy guitar lines.
When I Win the Lottery
A bluesy countrified sort of tune with some darkly humorous lyrics, this piece has an arrangement which really covers a lot of interesting ground. The song moves gradually through lots of different musical territory.
(I Was Born In A)Laundromat
This is a very strong track in an alternative rock mode. The arrangement is very creative and quite quirky.
Borderline
This is a solid alternative rock song with country elements. Borderline contains violin work which, at times, is rather in the style of Jean Luc Ponty.
The Light From A Cake
Combining multiple textures and styles (including rockabilly, twisted circus tones, and eastern tinged violin), this number is certainly something that I would call "art rock". Through this use of odd timings and arrangements, this becomes a chaotic numer.
June
This is a nicely structured rock song which derives unusual textures through innovative violin segments throughout the entire duration of the piece. This track also includes a break which is very much in an old King Crimson type mode, based on percussion and a string section.
All Her Favorite Fruit
All Her Favorite Fruit is done in a slow alternative ballad mode with a `60`s flavors combined with some country leanings.
Interlude
Interlude is a very brief and unusual instrumental cut that is primarily based on pump organ.
Flowers
Starting in tones along the lines of modern King Crimson, the song drops into a very creative alternative rock texturing. This is one of the best cuts on this album, and includes a considerably abrupt ending.
The Humid Press of Days
The guitar sounds in this piece combine alternative rock madness, Steve Howe stylings and `60`s psychedelia into a very creative and unique piece. This is another considerably strong track and features backwards instrumentation and tasty violin work. The arrangement is slightly off center and highly addictive. Another abrupt ending shows up here.
Pictures of Matchstick Men
This updating of the Status Quo classic features an intro which is based on a violin reworking of the well known opening riff. The central structure of the tune holds much of the charm of the original while throwing in a modern urgency and sensibility.
Come On Darkness
This is a dirge sort of alternative number with lots of charisma.
 
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