Camper Van Beethoven La Costa Perdida

Camper Van BeethovenLa Costa Perdida
When David Lowery went on a good run in the'90s with the country-rocking Cracker, it seemed that band's success would put his earlier work with Camper Van Beethoven in its proper context as an important, if not essential, component of American indie rock's birth. Instead, since 1999, Lowery has attempted to pick up where he left off a decade earlier — a brave artistic choice, but on another level, a purely self-indulgent one. The pattern with reunited '80s indie rock heroes has been playing up their strengths, but with CVB, their sound was too all over the place to begin with. That was endearing in the early days, but on La Costa Perdida, it comes off as a mess. Although the album gets off to a good start with the sun-drenched "Come Down The Coast," the need to simply be weird starts to sound forced quickly. The problem is the attempts at Captain Beefheart-esque psycho blues on "You Got To Roll" and elsewhere don't go far enough, while the prog-rock flourishes are just annoying. Artists like Beck took the CVB legacy to the next logical step. Sadly, today there's nothing to distinguish Lowery and co. from scores of other unfocused bands trying to combine too many disparate elements. (429)