Album: Key Lime Pie
The most serious – i.e. the only serious – album that Camper Van Beethoven made, for the first side, Key Lime Pie is also the best album they ever made. While their trademark psychedelic absurdity remained, it found itself serving songs with actual specific politics – left-wing, thereby surprising no one – attached. Though, naturally, Camper Van Beethoven couldn’t be bothered to write their anti-Reagan song (a staple of the 1980s indie scene) until after he left office.
Sadly, side two of Key Lime Pie didn’t hold up, and even the Status Quo cover that topped that alt-rock charts that year just left me cold. That said, smack dab in the middle of a sea of songs I haven’t played on purpose in 25 years stands “All Her Favorite Fruit,” which is my favorite Camper Van Beethoven song.
Slow, majestic and brooding, “All Her Favorite Fruit” was a twisted love song featuring a gorgeous guitar hook (that kinda reminded me of early U2 at the time) snaking around a soaring violin, as well as one of my favorite Lowery lines:
And I’d like to take her there, rather than this train
Thinking about it now, it’s not early U2 that “All Her Favorite Fruit” reminds me of, it’s Pavement circa Wowee Zowee, where the tempos have slowed, but the guitar hooks you can sing along with still remain. If you think hard enough, you could hear “All Her Favorite Fruit” easily share space with “Grounded” or “Father To A Sister of Thought”
Of course, in 1989, Pavement was in about the same place in their development that Camper Van Beethoven were during the Telephone Free Landslide Victory, but I now wonder if Camper Van’s later days was any kind of example for their fellow Californians.