Seattle is famous worldwide for its music scene in the early 1990's. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden are among the famous acts the region has produced. However, by 1994, the scene would come crashing down with the downfall of the area's anti-leader, Kurt Cobain. The Seattle scene was all but lost until one band changed it all.Okay, maybe the Presidents of the United States of America didn't really save the Seattle scene. However, what they did was inject a fresh sound into the sombre alternative rock of the nineties.
Blending strange, nonsensical lyrics with simple, yet adequate instruments, the Presidents were the anti-rock band. The only thing that they seemed serious about was kidding around. With the two-string basitar, three string-guitbass, and the no-string drums, it was easy to scoff at the Presidents. However, the fact remains that despite the silliness, the trio of Chris Ballew, Dave Dederer, and Jason Finn were still accomplished musicians.
The release of the self-titled album in 1994 reached some height, mainly as a novelty act. The band scored some minor hits in the forms of Lump
. Sadly, by 1996, most of the world really didn't care about the band anymore. II
was often called an old joke that wouldn't die by the critics, and it sadly faded into obscurity. About seven years later, a guy was walking through a Wherehouse Music near Atlanta, Georgia and stumbled upon the aforementioned album. It was used, and since it only cost four dollars, the guy bought it on a whim.
As you can probably tell, that guy was me. I had previously only heard of the band from the song Lump
, and since I liked it, I figured I'd give II
a shot. From the first listen, I was pleasantly surprised. While the music isn't the most complicated, the Presidents can write one Hell of a catchy song. And contrary to popular belief, the guys are very good instrumentalists for what they do. I especially notice Jason Finn's drumming -- He could easily be considered one of the most underrated drummers of the nineties. Regardless, though, if you were looking to hear some catchy music that doesn't really depend on complexity, this is the perfect album to purchase.
Even though it never received the critical acclaim of its predecessor, II
still has some great songs. There is the They Might Be Giants tribute Volcano
, an ode to Mount Saint Helens. Then there's the song about smashing toy cars, Mach 5
(The video for this song is one of the funniest ever. I highly suggest finding it). Twig
is a great Presidents song with hilarious guitar noises throughout and an amusing solo towards the end. Froggie
blends jazz and punk for a unique experience. Then there is the group's magnum opus in the form of Puffy Little Shoes
. All of these songs plus nine more tracks that are all of listening quality make this a well-rounded album.
The album is far from perfect. Perhaps the biggest problem is the fact that many people think that if you have heard one Presidents song you've heard them all. While a lot of the songs are similar, if you were a fan of the first album, this is a great purchase. If, however, you don't want catchy music that doesn't take itself seriously, I suggest you avoid this album. Yes it is on the short side at just over forty-one minutes, but the Presidents fill all of that time with quality material. This remains one of the lost gems of the nineties. It isn't for everyone, but hey -- Is anything?
No Truly Weak Tracks
A Bit Short
The Attitude of the Band Puts Some People Off
Some Tracks I Like More Than Others: