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30 September 2010

Camper Van Beethoven - 'Vampire Can Mating Oven' (Pitch-A-Tent/Rough Trade)

Wonderful title aside, I don't really rank Vampire Can Mating Oven among the essential Camper Van Beethoven releases. For one thing, the 1993 CD Camper Vantiquities contains the entirety of it, but enhanced with a bunch of awesome bonus tracks that I only vaguely remember because I lost my dub of Vantiquities years ago ('Porpoise Mouth', 'I'm Not Like Everybody Else' and especially 'Crossing Over'). The six songs that were released as this stopgap, pre-major label EP are all kinda throwaway, with maybe the exeception of 'Seven Languages', a crunchy, waka-chika guitar-tune. What's left? 'Heart', which is 'Border Ska' with lyrics, a version of 'Never Go Back' previewing what ends up on OBRS, an old pre-CVB song called 'Ice Cream Everyday', a dark instrumental called 'Processional' and a Ringo Starr cover ('Photograph'). 'Photograph' has its charms, sure, and I guess 'Processional' starts with a pretty cold set of layered melting voices. It's sort of interesting to hear the new wave influence of 'Ice Cream Everyday', but this was long before Dave Lowery found his voice. Of course, filler EPs are filler EPs, and since there can't be too many people clamoring for a vinyl issue of Vantiquities, this will have to do. And the liner notes are hilarious, as to be expected -- particularly the joke about mistranslating 'Heart' as 'Chest' in Serbo-Croat.

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