Camper Van Beethoven


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There's been a wave of whole-album covers lately, both live and on disc (for a magnificent recent example, see Blood on the Tracks by Mary Lee's Corvette). Maybe that explains the out-of-left-field appearance of this curiosity from the Camper vaults. Then again, David Lowery and his cohorts have never been ones to follow trends. Far from a calculated stunt, their song-for-song remake of Fleetwood Mac's AOR landmark was recorded in 1987 to kill time during a hiatus in the Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart sessions. The mere fact that they would attempt such a feat just for laughs is a testament to the band's imagination and adventurousness. On the other hand, albums like Sweetheart and Telephone Free Landslide Victory are also testaments to those traits, and in comparison, Tusk is little more than a sounds-interesting-on-paper experiment. The band finds room in Mac's glossy, soft rock for many of their favorite tricks: woozy country and western, slacker ska, and avant-garde tape manipulation. The problem is the lack of energy. The album sounds like what it is: a fight against boredom; unfortunately, its a fight the guys don't always win.

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