PUSA Keeps Its Humorous Streak Alive on First Full-Length in Six Years

The Presidents of the United States of America, Kudos to You! (2/18, self-released, presidentsrock.com)

The Sultans of Silly are back with their first new record in six years, and the trio hasn’t lost a step. Combining elements of grunge, alternative rock, punk, and power pop as seamlessly as ever, PUSA winds its way through 13 glib tracks that celebrate everything from the great state of Ohio to the harpooning of the rich and elite (“Good Morning Tycoon”). The sexy bass line, groovy guitar, and thumping drums on the opener “Slow Slow Fly” are reminiscent of those of “Seven Nation Army,” and they even throw some surf rock and psychobilly into the mix on “Finger Monster.” Bassist and lead singer Chris Ballew is charismatically off-kilter throughout, belting out a litany of tongue-in-cheek clichés in the quick-paced country-rock parody “Poor Little Me.” His delivery of the part-English, part-Spanish lyrics in “Rooftops in Spain”—including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “What’s Your Name”—is spot-on. The band’s humorous streak abounds with tales of pint-sized creatures waging epic wars (“Flea vs. Mite”) and an acoustic-rock love song to Crown Victorias that would make Chuck ’s John Casey smile. Two decades after it formed, PUSA has nothing left to prove, except that it still knows how to make you mosh and laugh simultaneously better than any band out there. And hey, if these dudes can do that by using a beer keg as a metaphor for both an unhealthy relationship and oral sex (“Stay With Me”), then kudos to them. (2/15, The Showbox; 2/16, The Triple Door)

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