Camper Van Beethoven: El Camino Real

Straightforward effort from the veteran genre-hoppers.

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For a band whose albums frequently tackle all points on the known musical spectrum, from to polka, punk and Tex-Mex via ska, psychedelia and prog, El Camino Real is a surprisingly quirk-free affair.

Even the song titles are shorter than they often have been, although the daft singalong It Was Like That When We Got Here suggests the band’s wry humour is very much intact.

Darken Your Door sounds like a long-lost cousin of Wilco’s California Stars, and David Lowery’s gift for social satire shines on Sugartown and I Live In LA, although his voice creaks as the high notes are skirted.

The band sound the same as ever, but calmer, and more reflective. Thirty years in the game and the Campers are starting to feel like the elder statesman of this sort of thing, whatever it is./o:p

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.