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The Presidents Of The United States Of America - These Are The Good Times People (Cooking Vinyl)
UK release date: 10 March 2008
4 stars
The Presidents Of The United States Of America - These Are The Good Times People

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track listing

1. Mixed Up SOB
2. Ladybug
3. Sharpen Up Those Fangs
4. More Bad Times
5. French Girl
6. Truckstop Butterfly
7. Ghosts Are Everywhere
8. Loose Balloon
9. Flame Is Love
10. So Lo So Hi
11. Poor Turtle
12. Rot In The Sun
13. Warhead
14. Delter

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Back in the day when Seattle was the epicentre of cool the emergence of The Presidents heralded the end of the grunge scene as we knew it.

Gone were the fibrous guitars and angst ridden lyrics. By 1995 Kurt Cobain had been dead for a year and nothing made much sense to the teens of the day. Somehow a burst of idiocy and good time tunes was just what we needed.

That those tunes were emanating from a city that had bought the squall of Melvins, the rockist metal slabs of Soundgarden and the drone of Earth (which would find its place some 15 years later) made almost no sense. Yet the absurdities (sic) of Peaches and Lump grabbed the conscience and they made their way into the charts. After looking inward for too long, we just needed some fun for a change.

All these years later and The Presidents are still going strong. Nothing seems to have changed in their world at all, and they still want to remind us that it's easier to have a good time than you might think.

If you're looking for serious music, then you'd better look elsewhere because that is not what The Presidents are all about. If you know you're about to enter a world of little dune bugs, maggots dancing in sour meat, and cautionary tales about dating French girls then come on in and pull up a chair. This is basic punk-pop, with the emphasis very much on the pop side of the equation. The only punk thing about The Presidents is their reliance on three chords and simple dynamics. In terms of lineage, they’re closer to Toy Dolls than they are to Sex Pistols.

You either love or hate their habit of keeping things at the level of an absurdist joke. You could easily play this stuff in a nursery for example, as there's enough tales of the ridiculous to make These Are The Good Times the equivalent of Dr Seuss with choruses. If you show me an adult who has grown tired of Dr Seuss, I'll show you someone who has grown tired with life. As for choruses, this album is packed with the most ridiculously catchy hooks. Check out the punk chant of Ghosts Are Everywhere or the country stomp of Truck Stop Butterfly and try to stifle the need to join in.

There's nothing complicated on this album, but then when did things ever need to be complicated? When songs are this addictive and affecting you don't need smart arse key changes, solos, or time changes. A simple strummed guitar, a few stabbing horns and a kookily delivered vocal and you've got something verging on perfect. In the case of this album, it's entitled Sharpen Up Those Fangs.

The Presidents may never be cool, but that's ok. After far too long stroking your beard and listening to the likes of Battles or Can sometimes you just need to be reminded of the simple pleasures that music can deliver. These Are The Good Times People reminds you of why music excited you in the first place. Simple tunes and perfect pop is sometimes all you need. There's no such thing as a guilty pleasure, so join the Presidents guilt free, and remind yourself that these are the good times.


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