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Pop Music Reviews : The Multi-Genre Sounds of Camper Van Beethoven

Introducing new violinist Morgan Fichter and a fistful of new songs on Friday at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Camper Van Beethoven confirmed that it’s still the best at what it does. Of course, CVB is the only band that does what it does.

But that’s just it. In its six years, the group has led a charmed--and charming--life, covering a sprawling hodgepodge of genres, from country to quasi-Middle Eastern to punk. The quintet at once recalls various bands and sounds like absolutely no one else.

The violin has become an increasingly dominant component of CVB’s everything-maybe-includ-ing-the-kitchen-sink approach, and Fichter is a hoedown hotshot. In addition to being an immensely gifted instrumentalist, she evidenced considerable low-key confidence and none of the tentativeness you might expect from the new kid on the block. But then her bandmates didn’t exactly hang back in previewing some selections from the forthcoming “Key Lime Pie” LP, either. The new songs were typically strong, typically varied and typically atypical.


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