Mischief and good music is always a healthily attractive mix and that is exactly what you get with Presidential Lovefest, the second EP from US indie/reggae funksters The Van Burens. The nine tracks it holds captures the imagination and feet from start to finish; the six full tracks and trio of equally magnetic samples which split the earlier songs on the release creating an intriguing web and compelling party to get wrapped up in. The release is fun with a giant F but also an expertly sculpted and devilishly presented slice of slavery.
Formed in 2008 and taking their name from the eighth President of the United States, The Van Burens has built up an eager following for their vivacious and energetic sound. They have a presence which toys with theirs and the listener’s imagination, their songs certainly on the new EP eager to ride unpredictability with contagious adventure. Presidential Lovefest is the successor to the 2010 Eager EP, the former’s success and appeal helping the Boston band to go on to tour the US. Drummer/singer Matt Spitz speaking about their new release said “Presidential Lovefest captures both our fun live set and our meticulous studio sound; it’s a dance record you can hear a thousand times and always find something new”. It is impossible to disagree as even after numerous tangos with its pleasing body, new temptations and depths reveal their seduction ensuring the release just gets better over time.
Taking an irreverent theme of American history to its humorous premises, Presidential Lovefest opens with the introductory scenery of Miss Lola Overture, a forty second lead into the following Tricky Dick. It is here where the release really wakes up, rhythms and a blaze of brass heralding the funk driven stomp ahead. The track immediately stomps with a rhythmic swagger courted by a great dark bass tone provided by Emmett Knox whilst alongside them the vocals dance with revelry and a welcoming enticement. With the guitars of Greg Smith and Greg Spitz teaming up with the keys of Jeff King to weave a melodic web which simply seduces emotions and appetite, the song continues its rampant persuasion bursting continuously with the trumpeting calls of Leenie Doran beside the equally magnetic flames of trombonist Pete Fanelli and saxophonist Joel Edinberg.
It is a flaming bait to set the EP off in irresistible style, an entrance after the atmospherically wrapped bye bye with its ‘FoxMulder’/child sample, which is backed potently by the more restrained Hey Everybody. The song is a sultry breeze of smouldering brass and clinging melodies, band vocals and harmonies similarly gentle in their caresses. The track does not inflame as dramatically as the previous song but instead provides a persistent embrace which envelops and soaks the senses for a just as compelling capture.
A continuation of the previous sample comes with hello before Reagan raises its rhythmic knees and keen melodies for a vibrant wind of reggae fuelled enterprise. The beats of Matt Spitz pulsate and rap around the ears, alone triggering a festival in the feet whilst the mesmeric vocal sweeps which span across the punchy canter of the song manipulate the passions. Not for the first or last time, song and band inspire comparisons to the adventurous and inventive mischief of nineties band Honky, as well as offering essences of Fun Lovin’ Criminals. The song is a blaze of charm and inventive vitality, again the brass flumes emotively colouring the expressive canvas provided by guitars and keys framed by the ever tantalising rhythms. With flumes of scuzz kissed sonics and the guest trumpet insurgences of Sam Dechenne, the song steals passions and memory alike.
Lee Harvey emerges from a sinister atmosphere, a sampled public warning stepping from a noir haze right before a jazz/funk bred guitar teasing wraps its lures around the body. Again that Honky reference is at play, experimental hip hop elements swerving their inviting hips from within the fullness of the funk fuelled dance. There is a very familiar toxin to the track but it only accentuates the mystery and seduction, rogue keys and percussive exploits adding further sparks for the imagination to devour as greedily as the ears. Making its way to a climax of fifties swing and rock ‘n’ roll, the track is an irresistible treat to lose inhibitions and breath to.
The smokey air of This Town wafts gently over ears next, its shadowed emergence bringing a reggae built climate of condensed brass heat and stroking guitar evocation. Trumpet and vocal guesting from Doran as in the final song adds to the thick coaxing of the song, melodies and vocals swarming tenderly over the inventive nature of the guitars and rhythms. It is an engrossing, slightly more serious suasion than other tracks, flirtation raising another flush of warm ardour for the EP before the infectious closing of LBJ, it an experiment of intrusive melodies and invigorating imagination.
Presidential Lovefest is a delicious and boisterous encounter, one to lose your reserve and inhibitions to whilst The Van Burens climb your list of favourites with each and every tempting note.
The Presidential Lovefest EP is available as buy now name your price download @ http://thevanburens.bandcamp.com/album/presidential-lovefest
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