The Van Burens, Presidential Lovefest


The Van Burens are political satirists and songwriters and they’ve got a killer new album “Presidential Lovefest” which kicks things off with “Miss Lola Overture”, a Tricky Dick phone call that sets the tone to things to come.

“Tricky Dick” jumps into a funk fest, reminiscent of James Brown sung by Mike Patton. There’s a lot of swingin’ horns and some really funky drum breaks. This is high octane parody.

“bye bye” is an interim organ piece with interwoven samples and a somber ambience. It’s jarring that it comes in right after such an energetic track.

But it does help bring down the tone a bit for “Hey Everybody”, which is a raggae inspired piece of melodrama. There’s a melodic guitar solo in between verses that really brings them together. The vocal harmonies are surprisingly creative and remind me of Ween a little.


“hello” is another keyboard driven interlude full of more vocal samples and ambience. Toward the end it’s a little bit science fiction sounding with the reverbed out drone tones.

“Reagan” kicks back into the jams with a ska flavored funkfest. Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan was definitely one of the most popular figures of the last 50 years. From trickle down economics to his famous quote to ‘tear down the wall’, it’s hard to say if he did more damage than good for the United States, but he’s the first Hollywood actor to grace the White House, for better or worse.

Next is “Lee Harvey” with an eerie intro and some anti communist propaganda samples, before getting some funky guitar riffs to get things groovin’ again. There is some cool clean guitar solos wandering in and out until the singer takes over. This is a cool funk jam with alot of improvising throughout the nearly 6 minute song.

“This Town” slows things down a bit more, with a trippy and almost existential intro before getting all jah. This raggae track has a nice horn solo toward the beginning. “I don’t wanna leave this town…” begins the lyrics. It’s repetition deceptively depressing to hear.

Presidential Lovefest ends with “LBJ”, a kickin’ slowburn funk track with a jazzy feel and almost rap type of vocals before the harmonies come in. It’s a pretty good track to end on, as it evolves throughout the song and showcases the band’s tremendous talent as a group.

Douglas Garnett –

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