In the same way that the Scissor Sisters are the nouveau dance pop version of ’70s disco queens Sister Sledge, El Presidente are the New Romantic version of ’70s funk/pop masters Wild Cherry (“Play That Funky Music”) and Hot Chocolate (“You Sexy Thing”). From Glasgow, Scotland, El Presidente’s funk/pop ingredients have a correlation to the Scissor Sisters’ throwback style, but with a glam rock component that revives the bohemian swigs of Britain’s King of Glam Rock( and sexual perversions), Gary Glitter. Their self-titled, self-produced disc makes electro-funk a viable movement capable of amassing global appeal.
The vocals of Dante Gizzi, former bass player of Scotland’s G.U.N. (who made a name for themselves when they opened for Def Leppard`s European leg of the Leps tour in 1992), seesaws between Mick Jagger jabs with a funky outpour to a nasally falsetto similar to Christian Snowhite of Love Arcade. The synth work of keyboardist Laura Marks has a Thievery Corporation verve. The bass playing of Thomas McNeice has a funk fluidity in its disposition while the guitar trills of Johnny McGlynn meld into the melodic fabrics with occasional spurts that gush like lustrous geysers. Their electro-funk tracks like “Without You” and “Rocket” are reminiscent of New York City’s Studio 54 heyday with disco-tinged synth effects, dance movements and funky rhythms. “Keep On Walking” is loaded with dance grooves comparable to The Flaming Lips while “Turn This Around” is like a funky rendition of The Human League.
There is a reggae element added to the funk/pop mix on “Count On Me” and a gypsy vibe like Gogol Bordello on “100 MPH” which keeps the tracks varied. The female vocal harmonies on “If You Say You Love Me” are accentuated by rings of swirling violins, interlocked with their electro-pop surroundings. There is Chic-like funk in the track “Hanging Around” while “Old Times” opens with a country-soft guitar stroll and country reins through the chorus and electro-funk intervals. Early ’80s New Romantic influences are captured in tunes like “Honey” and “Come On Now” with synth vessels familiar to Erasure and Level 42’s portages.
El Presidente has the funk/pop style of early Prince and present day Love Arcade. The quintet from the UK has found that their brand of funk is very much in demand, whether it be because the Scissor Sisters have already paved the way for them, or because their electro-funk mixture is something which people have been starving for and ready to gulp like Frappucinos. Whatever it is, El Presidente has found a niche for themselves that certainly fits.
Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
Love Arcade – Love Arcade
The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin