Camper Van Chadbourne

Used Record Pile

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Used Record Pile provides a retrospective of several albums released in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Camper Van Chadborune -- a collaboration between Eugene Chadbourne with members of the seminal post-punk outfit Camper Van Beethoven -- including their self-titled debut, the Eddie Chatterbox Double Trio Love Album, and Eugene Chadbourne's 69th Symphony. The bulk of the material is rooted in the very basic folk song form. Much of it is polemical protest music in the traditional leftist sense. However, unlike the compositions that are commonly associated with such purposeful music, Camper Van Chadbourne provides the acidic anger to back it -- both in terms of sheer darkness and utter psychedelia. On Used Record Pile, much of this is accented by Walter Malli's soprano sax playing in duet with Chadbourne's vocals. Both are just slightly off -- Chadbourne, with an aged tweak in his voice; Malli, with his methodically precise discordant variations on the songs' melodies. And if it's not Malli's sax doubling the vocals, then it's Segel's fiddle or even Chadbourne's own guitar. The penultimate effect is that of the music being run through a filter, whereupon the entire known universe becomes rippled and creased. Although flawed in places, the music crackles with liberal anger in the years leading up to the Gulf War.

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