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Camper Van Beethoven: El Camino Real

Straightforward effort from the veteran genre-hoppers.

For a band whose albums frequently tackle all points on the known musical spectrum, from alt.country 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