American Eclectic Cool

* * CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN. "Vampire Can Mating Oven." Pitch-A-Tent. This Santa Cruz quintet is worshipped as a god at college radio stations and it's easy to see why. This six-track EP is full of the warped sensibilities that have made the band a rising star, and the music is post-R.E.M. American eclectic cool. "Seven Languages" and "Ice Cream Every Day" are well-crafted smart pop with a smirk. Yet there's something curiously aloof and uninvolving about CVB--as if they spent too much time in English class and not enough in the real world. Take their straight-faced reading of Ringo Starr's hit "Photograph." The idea may be intellectually humorous--Ringo doesn't get his songs covered too often--but a mediocre song in 1973 is still a mediocre song in 1988.

Check List * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty

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