It has been 15 years since Camper Van Beethoven's last college radio disc ("Key Lime Pie") and the subsequent road implosion, leading to an ugly band dissolution and David Lowery's spinoff band Cracke

It has been 15 years since Camper Van Beethoven's last college radio disc ("Key Lime Pie") and the subsequent road implosion, leading to an ugly band dissolution and David Lowery's spinoff band Cracker. CVB's humor, eclecticism, carefree independence, lyrical indelibility and sly, slanted sarcasm have been sorely missed. But in the past few years, Cracker gigs have featured hip CVB reunions, which paved the way for the new CD. While there are no crack-up, camp-styled ditties like yesteryear's "Take the Skinheads Bowling," the poignant, comic and surreal rock opera "New Roman Times" finds CVB marvelously picking up where it left off with an entertaining mishmash of off-kilter, raw and psychedelia-tinged rockers, jazz fusion-like instrumentals, gypsy-styled dance tracks and country hoedowns and pedal-steel twang. Highlights include "I Hate This Part of Texas," "51-7" and "That Gum You Like Is Back in Style," all of which rock to a different drummer.—DO

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