Many alternative-rock fans considered Camper Van Beethoven an important band, but I wasn't among them. Guitarist/vocalist David Lowerey always seemed smarmy and ridiculously happy with his own cleverness. Lowrey's new band... more », Cracker, has the potential to be even more annoying, since the quartet places the spotlight solely on its leader and songwriter, but its self-titled 1992 debut was a strong effort with a smart, infectious single ("Teen Angst"), and Kerosene Hat is even better. Recorded with stripped- down simplicity on an abandoned soundstage at the edge of the Mojave desert, the album concentrates on the band's undeniably catchy country-flavored garage punk. "Go For A Ride" is perfect highway music, and the single "Low" is almost as good as "Teen Angst." Unfortunately, the most inspired title and song topic-"Hi Desert Biker Meth Lab"-turns out to be wasted on a short snippet of noise and studio chatter. --Jim DeRogatis« less
Many alternative-rock fans considered Camper Van Beethoven an important band, but I wasn't among them. Guitarist/vocalist David Lowerey always seemed smarmy and ridiculously happy with his own cleverness. Lowrey's new band, Cracker, has the potential to be even more annoying, since the quartet places the spotlight solely on its leader and songwriter, but its self-titled 1992 debut was a strong effort with a smart, infectious single ("Teen Angst"), and Kerosene Hat is even better. Recorded with stripped- down simplicity on an abandoned soundstage at the edge of the Mojave desert, the album concentrates on the band's undeniably catchy country-flavored garage punk. "Go For A Ride" is perfect highway music, and the single "Low" is almost as good as "Teen Angst." Unfortunately, the most inspired title and song topic-"Hi Desert Biker Meth Lab"-turns out to be wasted on a short snippet of noise and studio chatter. --Jim DeRogatis
Stanley H. from SAN CARLOS, CA Reviewed on 7/2/2012...
Two hidden tracks on the cd - #69 - Eurotrash Girl (one of my favorite tracks on the cd) and #88 Take Me Back To You.
Daniel Y. (coolascaliban) from CANTON, MI Reviewed on 11/7/2007...
This is one you will find yourself singing along to, as soon as you learn the words!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Everything seems like a dream...
howlinw | California USA | 05/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the first albums in my now gigantic collection, Kerosene Hat is an odd man out, difficult to categorize despite its familiar roots-rock sound. Oddly romantic-sounding without trying to be (actually, all the more so for the fact that its blunt irony and unforced wittiness removes all "romatic" cliches leaving it sounding surprisingly honest and clear of hackneyed sentimentalism) it seems closer in hindsight to "alt-country" than to any of its grunge-rock contemporaries. I'd place it in the same basic category as the Jayhawks' "Hollywood Town Hall" which came out around the same time. What amazes me is that an album like this actually contained some "hits" which appealed to the popular consciousness enough to get Cracker on MTV and all over burgeoning alt-rock radio stations. Usually bands this intelligent are doomed to obscurity, for record geeks like me (and possibly you) to find and treasure while our girlfriends roll their eyes.Like one reviewer below, I too would listen to this album back in high school and dream of beautiful women. I see no shame in that. It's an album that induces such hopefulness (or wishful thinking), and that's saying something for it. No it's not "Exile on Main Street" but it's in that vein for those of us who lived and breathed the early alt-rock movement, before crass commericialism sucked all the life out of it.I'll conclude this diatribe by urging Cracker to create another album this good. I know they'll never read this, but in case someone who knows them does, please pass on the message."
A Soundtrack for Life
L. W. Ruthen | 10/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm ordering Cracker's The Golden Age, which, for some reason, I don't own, and I started reading the reviews for Kerosene Hat. It's very validating to read that others feel like I do--that this album is pure brilliance from start to finish. I've had it for years, of course, and keep returning to it again and again (along with the 3 other Cracker albums I own). It's one of the 15 or so CDs I have that never get to rest for long. One of my best memories of it, however, came only a couple of years ago when I discovered that, like me, my cousin is a huge Cracker fan. A few months later, a group of us were walking to a free Cracker show at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York, and he and I started singing "Take Me Down to the Infirmary" at the top of our lungs. Every time I listen to the album, I hear something new to love. The songs are so well written and executed while sounding spontaneous and real, not slick and manufactured. I like that Cracker is not hugely popular. I don't want to share with just anybody. In conclusion, here's a great description of the band I read in some online review a few years ago (can't remember where, or the exact wording, but thanks, whoever you are....): "Cracker is the most normal weird band out there and the weirdest normal band out there.""
A classic rock album lyrically and musically.
L. W. Ruthen | 05/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A follow-up to their debut masterpiece, this collection brings more electric guitar-work to the mix in a way reminescent of Keith Richards and Mick Taylor. Full of catchy riffs, a stellar rythtym section, and open-throttle vocals, this melodic work represents what a four-piece rock band is all about. "Nostalgia" captures the wonder of the space age in an upbeat, contagious, guitar-woven gem. The intros to "Take Me Down To The Infirmary" and its sister song "I Want Everything" are beautifully sculpted phrases for which the Gibson Les Paul was created to inspire. The fun secret track #69, "Eurotrash Girl", is a live favorite. Three chords never sounded so good as in "Get Off This". David Lowery and Johnny Hickman harmonize to like a boy-girl team adding another sweet dimension to their songs. The second and last of their great albums and last one with bassist, backing vocalist and co-writer David Faragher and drummer Michael Urbano."
A most creative use of the CD format.
L. W. Ruthen | 10/08/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hidden tracks and tomfoolery highlight this effort from Central Virginia transplants, Cracker. Often featured artists at the Capital City Barn Dance, this band lends itself to utilizing all available means to produce lighthearted entertainment. From hardrocking tracks such as 'Let's go for a Ride' and 'Movie Star' to the melancholic anthem on the hidden track 'Eurotrash Girl,' (Suggestively hidden on track 69 of the CD)this Disc is sure to provide a wonderful soundtrack for any sort of frivolity. Frontman David Lowery displays the full range of emotions from happy-go-lucky to shit-out-of-luck. Guitarist Johnny Hickman's soulful eclectic style complements Lowery and his very emotional presentations."
What an album
L. W. Ruthen | 08/24/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the opening chords of 'Low' it becomes immediately apparent that this album is going to be something special, and the band to not disappoint. Not as overtly humerous as David Lowery's 'Camper Van Beethoven' writing there is still a skewed style to his lyrics, and the musical tapestry wrapped around it by the band match it perfectly. There is a vital & exciting quality to the writing, and playing, that convey the sound of a talented group of artists at the top of their game. And the joyous rock that suffuses Eurotrash Girl', 'Let's Go For A Ride' and the aforementioned 'Low', can't help but get you singing along blasting out that air-guitar. You can always count on Cracker to deliver the goods & this time out they've done that in spades - what a great record."