Camper Van Beethoven were one of the best and most-respected alternative rock bands of the 1980s, delivering a slew of killer albums that included 1985’s “Telephone Free Landslide Victory,” 1986’s self-titled effort, 1988’s “Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart” and 1989’s “Key Lime Pie.” CVB took the 1990s off before reuniting in the early 2000s and putting together reunion album “New Roman Times” in 2004.
The folks at Omnivore have released an expanded reissue of that platter which, while rock solid, doesn’t hold up as well as CVB’s earlier records. “New Roman Times” was one of the band’s most ambitious offerings, recalls frontman David Lowery.
“(It’s) a sci-fi alternate reality rock opera. It is intended as a political farce, a sarcastic commentary on the whole notion of a red state/blue state America,” Lowery says. “It is not directly a commentary on the Iraq war, although much of it reads that way.”
Now a whopping 24 tracks clocking in at almost 80 minutes, “New Roman Times” is tough to manage in a single sitting. Tunes like “White Fluffy Clouds,” “Might Makes Right,” “Militia Song,” the title track, “I Hate This Part of Texas” and “Civil Disobedience” still sound great. Among the four previously unissued tracks included on the reissue, “Alien Ghost Song” and “It’s Gonna Rain” are the ones you’ll remember. (Jeffrey Sisk)