El Presidente

This album's first three tracks are possibly the finest pop singles of 2005. Not one has made a huge mark on the mainstream consciousness yet all three suggest El Presidente are a band not to dismiss. With their heady mix of funky guitar licks, choruses that act like brain-worms, and the charisma that leaks from frontman Dante Gizzi's high-pitched growl, these three singles are down and dirty pop'n'roll. 100 mph, in particular, stands out as a song it's impossible to not like - to this listener, it sounds like Take Your Mama Out, only a little more eccentric. Yup, that's right. Dante and his band display many of the same characteristics that made the Scissor Sisters such a catch in 2004 - pop melodies set to musical backdrops that sound like throwbacks to the days of great pop. Oh, and they're a little camp.

However, whilst the album lives up somewhat to the promise of the first three tracks, it does drift off toward the end, thereby failing to match the truly brilliant debut offered by those Scissory ones. There are enough highlights to recommend it - notably, the summery feel-good vibe of I Didn't Really and the Jackson-like sleaze-funk of Hanging Around. Meanwhile,Turn This Thing Around and Count On Me continue the album's quality benchmark, being the best examples this album has of balladery, and yet you can still imagine getting down to these on the dancefloor. This is the album's sole glaring problem; diversity. After the midway point, it would be nice to hear something other than a good pop song. Sure, there are the disco/glam rock/dance influences (delete as necessary) but, by track nine, it all sounds the same. It's harmless enough fun and could be great backing music to a get-together but it lacks substance. I mean, even The Spice Girls found time for a more subdued moment here and there!

Nonetheless, I doubt there's anyone who wouldn't find something to hold their interest in at least one of the twelve tracks on offer here. I also suspect that, like the Scissor Sisters, El Presidente are a band who revel in their live performances. Perhaps if I caught them live, I would have a higher opinion of the more underwhelming songs. Perhaps. For now, I await a second album that is more well-rounded.

Overall

6

out of 10

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