“When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he REALLY played.” – Dr. Seuss
My first car was an incredible machine. An engineering marvel really. A turbocharged puke-gold (“champagne”) 1980 Chevy Malibu boatwagon. No A/C. My stereo was a small tape playing boombox that ran on 8 D batteries that resided next to me on the front seat bench. The summer when I was 17 I worked cleaning up construction sites in the suburbs. Terrible minimum wage work that often involved hoisting tipped port-a-potties and spending hours cleaning crap out of crawl spaces. It would take me forever to get to my job and back. Fortunately, that boombox was a monster and I had a great tape rotation always on hand.
Boulevard’s Unfiltered Wheat tastes like those terrible hours stuck in traffic in the Malibu. Despite being often miserable, sweaty, and panic-attack inducing, I still damn miss them. The beer is an awkward reminder of awkward summers as an awkward 17 year old. I suppose it is my fault for grabbing a wheat beer in winter, but its properly lemony wheaty hazy normalness is making me wistful. It’s funny, cause I think my seventeen year old self and my thirty-something year old self agree that I am a total jerk off for drinking this stuff. Oh well. Sorry guys.
So, what this stuff calls for is a self-depreciating, nostalgia-inflicting, slacker album that makes me feel like I am stuff in traffic after work in 90s and damned okay with it. Well, I can’t imagine a more awkward summer album than Key Lime Pie by Camper Van Beethoven. I really never went far without CVB tpapes in my late high school bands…really one of the first cool bands I liked. KLP was a bit more adult for them (almost serious sounding), like they knew high school was almost up and they were going to have to grow up and get a real job. That feeling sucked.
Yes, I would say quality of this album surpasses quality of the beer by a margin, but they are in a sense perfect for each other. They share the positives of being crisp, bright, fun, and easy, but both a little simplistic for their makers and definitely brewed for mass appeal. Hell, they still taste pretty good and are off kilter enough to be just fine for guy getting home from work, sporting a conflagrant sunburn, and totally smelling like shit.