first_imgEl PresidenteEl Presidenteout24 OctoberSince Franz Ferdinand smashed into the mainstream, the British music press has been looking to the Scots for the new band of the moment. This search seems to have resulted in virtually every new Scottish band being labelled “the next big thing”, even the mind numbingly mediocre. So it is no surprise that Glaswegian outfit El Presidente’s rise to prominence has been swift since the release of their limited single Rocket last year. From this success they have gone on tours with Kasabian, Oasis and Soulwax. There has been a high level of anticipation for their debut album, with the Guardian labelling them “the Glaswegian Scissor Sisters” but, with all the hype, the question is whether this album could see El Presidente become even bigger.The short answer is no. In truth, there can be no denying that founder and front man Dante Gizzi has the ear to write a good tune. The opening track, Without You, is basically a nice, friendly pop song for nice, friendly people: it combines singalong lyrics with a very gentle pop-funk riff. Rocket, evidently describing a hard drug binge, is a straight mix of a good dance beat with pop melodies, providing a vivid and driving mix, while Count on Me has a ridiculously catchy tune.However, catchy alone doesn’t do enough to mask the painfully pathetic lyrics, which Gizzi intersperses with random, mistaken ‘intellectual’ references, with little congruity with the subject. These can only be explained as half-hearted attempts to hide his near-total absence of artistic flair. If Gizzi had a good voice, his foolish and irrelevant musings might have been less noticeable. The problem is that he actually seems to take pride in his limitations, constantly repeating daft phrases until he sounds like a whining cat.These flaws are thrown into sharp relief when compared with bands such as the Scissor Sisters, whose ability to mix genres, interchange older styles with newer ones and amalgamate pop, funk, and dance into a fluctuous sound makes them brilliant. In contrast, El Presidente achieve this only in bits and pieces: I Didn’t Really has moments of Cure-like mellowness, while Come on Now makes a good dance track. The problem for El Presidente is that they haven’t brought their musical influences together, and seem to be constantly imitating a particular genre without concern for their own individuality. The result is that their album drifts at points into sounding more like a band covering older pop. Turn This Around is nice enough in itself, but leads the album into briefly sounding a bit too Spandau Ballet-esque for comfort. 100Mph is a meaningless rock song of the bad Aerosmith early-eighties phase.Ultimately, El Presidente do have their moments. They just need to rethink their style and choose what sort of band they’re going to be. Above all, there’s absolutely nothing Glaswegian about this band. Whereas Franz Ferdinand have simultaneously drawn on both the Glasgow art scene and a general northern down-to-earthness, El Presidente have no real individuality in their music or presentation. Their songs are of a distinctly poor pseudo-American ilk, with little innovation. They would do well to redefine their styles and settle on a music form that suits them.ARCHIVE: 2nd week MT 2005last_img

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