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June 23, 2024

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The Ex-Presidents
Club 33 (Raygun Records)

By: Alex Steininger

The Ex-Presidents are a seven-piece ska band from Southern California. Led by female vocals, they mix in a lot of punk, and some funk, influences on their debut EP.

"I Found Myself" starts the CD off with some bad funk. Leading the song is none other than the bass, which is very annoying. The duel lead singers (one male and one female) also give the song a bad flavor, as the vocals are either too low or too high in the mix. On the plus side, the drums and the horns give the song a listen-able feel. Tapping down in the background, the drums are meaty enough to get you tapping for a few moments, until the rest of the song kicks in. The horns are also very powerful, adding a bit of a catchy attitude to the song. Even though I don't want to admit it, after listening to this song a few times, the horns actually got me singing along. "Lilac" shows the band isn't all funk. OK, it was just one song, but it started out the album and left a very bad taste in my mouth. A decent upbeat, and some nice hooks weaved in, this song has a bouncy feeling to it that will get you dancing and singing along, which is always important in music. This time, the dueling male and female vocals are pulled off without a hitch, giving the song a nice, rich feeling. The horns, as usual, keep the energy up, and always give the song a powerful boost whenever they're present. Ending the CD with "Nobody Knows," they go out with pride. Starting off with a dancing bass and some nice cymbals, I was already shaking my body before the horns even came in. And when the horns flew into the song and filled the air with their golden notes, the song got that much better. Add some keys to the party, for a delicate touch, and you have a swingin' number that is sure to put a smile on your face and some movement in your legs.

These guys are new and inexperienced, and it shows on this seven song EP. But this CD also showcases a band with promise, if harnessed right. They have the ability to carry out nice hooks and danceable beats (as displayed in various parts throughout the songs), they just need time to perfect their craft. Until then, this disc limits their sound to how they were when they recorded it. That's not to say every track on here isn't good, because there was some very outstanding moments on this disc. But the overall musicianship on this disc is a bit loose, gaining and losing momentum off and on. I'll give this a B-.

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