Solid States is the first record from The Posies since the death of their drummer last year, and as you’d expect, a clear melancholy is audible here. It isn’t a morose record (indeed, it’s a lovely set of pop songs), but there is a depth of emotion even stronger than on their previous seven albums. Released by the Lojinx label.
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The Posies are a power pop band with interesting hair who once served as the backing band to Alex Chilton’s late period Big Star. I’ve not kept up with their later work but what surprises me about this reunion album is the modernist pop sheen that is slathered atop. I perhaps erroneously had the Posies down as retro guitar guys, obsessed with nothing more contemporary than the Beatles but this record sounds more like a modern day new wave album as if the Cars had made a comeback album produced by Danger Mouse.
Squelshy synths, compressed drums and hiccupy vocals abound but ‘neath the sheen they still write classic melodies that will appeal to fans of everyone whom once heard a Paul McCartney album. This kind of music is terminally unhip but alongside Nada Surf and even the reformed Squeeze, the Posies continuing fighting the good fight for melodic pop. The album is chock full of enjoyably bouncy tunes and on the likes of ‘Squirrel Vs Snake’ the kind of thing that would be boring in the hands of say a Ron Sexsmith is enlivened by thrilling production and hear in lies the key as to why this works as a late period album, the band are unafraid to challenge themselves by indulging in electro pop whims yet their songwriting is nicely intact.
The production never really makes them sound like old guys with young guys hair and just like the band choose to present themselves, it just kind of melds together nicely.
7/10 Stephen Customer review, 29th April 2016
The Posies have had a horrible year, losing drummer Darius Minwalla and former bassist Joe Skyward. I guess for such dyed in the wool musicians - always touring, recording, performing - as core Posies Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer the best therapy, and the best way to pay their respects to their fellow musicians was to make music.
“Solid States” is their 9th album and follows on from 2010’s “Blood/Candy”. Production-wise this album sounds similar, but there are more electronics and the guitars have been smoothed out a little more. It’s a far cry, in that respect, from the crunchy power pop masterpiece “Frosting On The Beater” way back in 1993. It perhaps sounds a little more like Jon Auer’s side project Dynamo Royale.
“Unlikey Places” is the first stand out moment, pleasingly melodic whilst sounding like the Cars covering Pavement’s “Shady Lane” in places (if you can imagine such an unlikely union!) “Squirrel Vs. Snake” sounds familiar and comfortable and this is due to the fact that it was released as a free download album teaser – I’ve heard it a few times now. I’m assuming then, that the rest of the album will become this familiar and comfortable. “March Climes” is the next track to grab my attention – it could well be the best on the album. Closing track “Radiance” has a catchy hook too.
Overall it’s not as good as “Blood/Candy” but give it time and it could be.
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- Solid States by The Posies
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