Album Details

RELEASE
1985
LABEL
Cooking Vinyl Records
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Jangle Pop, Alternative/Indie Rock, College Rock, American Underground

Album Review

They say "never say never," but it's still extremely unlikely something so goofily low-key, inventive, and fun will ever achieve cult status so quickly again, especially in terms of musical range on display. Not simply a rock group but not anything else, Camper Van Beethoven pulled off a series of entertaining fusions throughout its debut record, as the opening song "Border Ska" indicates by name alone. Eastern European folk, tropical grooves, post-punk atmospherics, country laid-back good times, psych/garage band aesthetics, lyrics about Mao, Greece, and more -- a lot of stuff went into the Santa Cruz band's brew, and most of it came up trumps on Telephone. Lowery's lead vocals aren't much like what his more famous work in Cracker would indicate, being more speak-singing through shaggy dog stories (even one about Lassie) of all stripes. Hearing his tale of woe on "Wasted" -- "I was a punker, and I had a Mohawk/I was so gnarly and I drove my dad's car" -- delivered in a "yeah dude" tone of voice is pretty darn funny. Segel's keyboards and violins color the arrangements with a fun touch, while rhythm team Krummenacher and then recently departed drummer Anthony Guess try out nearly everything at least once. The production is eminently suited for the proceedings, sounding a bit like the thick, fuzzy flow of many Shimmy-Disc releases but with just enough of a crisp edge. When it comes to humor, it's everywhere -- for instance, the plaintively sung chorus of "Where the Hell Is Bill?," not to mention the various speculative answers ("Maybe he went to get a Vespa scooter"). Or, of course, the song that kick-started the band's reputation, "Take the Skinheads Bowling," two and a half minutes of chiming, goofy nonsense with references to Jah and incomplete rhymes.
Ned Raggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Border Skahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  2. The Day That Lassie Went to the Moonhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  3. Wasted
  4. Yanqui Go Home
  5. Oh No!
  6. 9 of Disks
  7. Payed Vacation: Greece
  8. Where the Hell Is Bill?
  9. Vladivostockhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  10. Skinhead Stomphttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  11. Tinahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  12. Take the Skinheads Bowlinghttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  13. Mao Reminisces About His Days in Southern Chinahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  14. I Don't See Youhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  15. Balalaika Gaphttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  16. Opi Rides Again/Club Med Suckshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
  17. Ambiguity Songhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/telephone-free-landslide-victory/id475074426?uo=5
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