goofy, infectious fun

II (Columbia)
Presidents of the United States of America

By Kory Wilcoxson

If you've heard "Peaches" or "Lump," from the Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA), you are familiar with their musical philosophy. Straightforward power-guitar pop, with goofy, hilarious lyrics and a knack for having fun.

Expect more of the same on their sophomore effort, II. The

trio produces a sound much bigger than they rightly should, all the while using whacked-out, homemade guitars and less than admirable singing voices.

Who cares how they do it -- it is what they do that is so darn cool. The first single, "Mach 5," weaves a story about smashing Matchbox cars on a sunny afternoons over crunching, high-revving guitars. "Volcano" rocks with the same intensity and adds some trippy vocals by Chris Ballew. And keeping with tradition, there are several songs about various members of the animal kingdom ("Bug City," "Froggie").

Knowing that a band is having fun makes an album much more listenable, and in the case of PUSA, that feeling is infectious.