From their beginnings as a funny, sometimes snotty band with a fondness for odd instrumentation and strange beats, Camper Van Beethoven has progressed into a strong live outfit, postpunk’s leading absurdists. But no one expected the explosive power of last year’s Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, and now comes an equally powerful Key Lime Pie, the band’s latest piece of dissociative, tangled brilliance. Three meditations on America dominate one side of the record, including a surprisingly vicious bazooka blast at Ronald Reagan; on the other side you get the soaring “June,” a rockin’ “Pictures of Matchstick Men” (a live staple), and, to close it all off, “Come on Darkness,” which is apparently the Campers’ idea of a seduction song. Producer Dennis Herring has done amazing work. . . . If Camper Van Beethoven is five diverse sensibilities that have come together, Souled American is four similar ones straining to break free. On Flubber, their newest, instruments wander up and down in the mix, Chris Grigoroff’s voice lazes about, the drums sometimes disappear entirely, and Joe Adduci’s gregarious bass almost steals the show. It shouldn’t work, but it does; Flubber is an offhandedly pretty and searchingly lyrical record, and this is a great double bill. Saturday, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andre Lansel.