When indie superstars Camper Van Beethoven signed with Virgin Records in the late ’80s, it seemed inconceivable. How could that irreverent act, a band with great wit and wide-ranging instrumentation, move to a major label without “selling out” and sacrificing all that made them great? As it turned out, the first three tracks on Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
were a pop song, an instrumental and an adaptation of a dirge about death. Heck, the release even had a love song for Patty Hearst. No, Camper Van Beethoven hadn’t sold out. They just had better distribution now.
On February 4, 2014, Omnivore Recordings will proudly revisit a time when Camper Van Beethoven helped pioneer American alt-rock, with reissues of the band’s first two Virgin albums: Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
and Key Lime Pie
Produced by Dennis Herring
, Counting Crows
, Modest Mouse
), Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
finds itself reissued on CD with 10 bonus tracks, and on vinyl for the first time since its original issue.
Featuring new photos and liners in both the CD and LP, the album is being released in tandem with its acclaimed follow-up Key Lime Pie
, with full cooperation from the band itself. Key Lime Pie
, also produced by Herring, was a logical next chapter in the saga of CVB while offering higher production value. From a track about Jack Ruby to a cover of Status Quo
’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” Key Lime Pie
was a slice above the rest and a fitting dessert for the 1980s.
This reissue contains nine bonus tracks on the CD. The nearly hour-long album was originally pressed on one LP, but Omnivore has expended it to two LPs (for better sound) and added a bonus track to Side 4 that plays at 45 rpm.
It’s been a few years since the end of the ’80s but Camper Van Beethoven has proved timeless. Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
attests to that. It’s even spelled out in the title: beloved, revolutionary and a real sweetheart.
The band, which broke up after the two Virgin recordings, has reunited and continues to record and tour today.