The band takes their name from Martin Van Buren, one of the most unpopular and inept Presidents, not unlike Barack Obama, in American history. Like our current President, Van Buren presided over an economic collapse, depression, and high unemployment. However, unlike today and Obama, the voters kicked his candy ass out of office after four years. I think we Americans were probably smarter back then.
With their presidential name, the band also seems to have a fascination with our commander-in-chief. The bulk of their second EP, Presidential Lovefest, is about recent American presidents including Nixon (Tricky Dick), Reagan (Reagan), and Johnson (LBJ). I'm not sure about the other songs, but that's likely because the CD sleeve isn't very forthcoming about the EP contents. It suggests only six songs, but when you play it their are three additional tracks. They consist of filler, recordings or talking, for segue (I guess). I'm sure there's a point to it (or not), yet it's rather annoying as well. The other three actual songs, Hey Everybody, This Town, and Lee Harvey may have somethihng or nothing to do with a president. I'm not sure at all, since you can't always catch the lyrics. However, Lee Harvey Oswald was associated with one, having (allegedly) assassinated John Kennedy.
What's most interesting about The Van Burens is their musical style. It's a blend of melodic rock, pop, funk, ska, and maybe even a little reggae within Reagan. Mentioning funk and ska, the band has horns including sax, trumpet and trombone, which is one very good reason to listen to the album. Toss in some spry guitar work, harmonious, but sometimes unclear, vocals arrangements, and some old school Hammond style keyboards at times, and you have an eclectic mix of melodic rock. At times, the band reminds of ska-sized funkadelic version of Little Feat, stripped of the southern references. It's interesting stuff, and entertaining. Check out the Bandcamp stream below, notably the tracks a mentioned. If you like what you hear, the EP is offered at as a 'name your price' download, but I suggest you pay something. Recommended.
With an eclectic blend of melodic rock, pop, funk, ska, and maybe even a little reggae, The Van Burens' offer something both interesting and entertaining.
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