ARTIST: The White House Band
The Stimulus Package EP
Cap City Records
February 15, 2011

By Chris Kromphardt
Staff Writer, Justice Administrator

A couple weeks ago I reviewed an earlier EP by The White House Band, finding it uneven but promising. A band out of Brooklyn—and these days, what new band isn’t coming from Brooklyn—with a rising profile, The White House Band had a fresh style combining elements of rap, rock, and blues, and all that remained was getting a firm grasp on those disparate threads and weaving them together into a cohesive whole.

With The Stimulus Package they’ve come a hell of a lot closer to accomplishing that goal.

Featuring a sound that’s reminiscent of early Linkin Park as well as the Flobots—as well as an emcee with a rapping style akin to that of Kanye West and Kid Cudi—The White House Band find a niche in the popular music environment that’s at the same time new and yet still familiar. TWHB isn’t breaking any dramatic new ground here, but this polished and solid EP should help them find their way into the hands of fans of alt-rock and rap alike.

A couple gripes do emerge. On The Method EP, I commented on emcee David E Beats’ need to step it up lyrically in order for the whole band to meet the lofty standard inherent in their audacious blending of genres; on The Stimulus Package he does this, rapping with more force and confidence, but unfortunately he does it by frequently relying on trite platitudes about his own greatness. Note to Beats: you’re good, and you’re getting better, but give the listener something more than falling back on the occasional dumb lyric.

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Another thing that slightly bugs me is the apparent gimmick of both the band and this EP’s names; there’s nothing political about their lyrics, so why they market themselves that way is beyond me. A small criticism, but a noteworthy one if the band’s trying to convey what their style’s about.

In my last review I noted that a song that was on the band’s website but not on The Method was a great demonstration of all the disparate elements of The White House Band meshing to great results. That song, “Sky High,” is on The Stimulus Package, and it is probably the best track. But it’s in good company: I listened straight through two times in a row, and the songs transition well. I’m looking forward to a full-length album from these guys to see if they can further develop their sound into something coherent and distinct.

Earlier I chided Beats’ occasional lame posturing, but one lyric in particular stands out for its genuineness: “Every mixtape I done got better though.” I haven’t heard any of his mixtapes, but based on the significant improvement between The Method and The Stimulus Package, the point is well made. Your move, Beats and co. I’m listening.

RATING: 7/10

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