Seattle-based power pop veterans the Posies will break a seven-year new album drought with "Every Kind of Light," due Tuesday (June 28) via Rykodisc.
Seattle-based power pop veterans the Posies will break a seven-year new album drought with "Every Kind of Light," due Tuesday (June 28) via Rykodisc. The 12-track record would appear to have been a long time in the making. But according to co-frontman Jon Auer, its actual recording was a lightning-quick process capping a half-decade of the band's adventures in limbo.
"We'd actually officially broken up after 'Success' in 1998 and called it a day," Auer tells Billboard.com. "We actually decided it was over before making that record. Then we toured it and said good night."
The band had enjoyed a nice run, layering harmonies and guitars on melodically memorable nuggets across a decade of acclaimed albums such as "Frosting on the Beater" (DGC, 1993) and "Amazing Disgrace" (DGC, 1996). They'd even helped reconstruct an idol, as Auer and fellow head Posie Ken Stringfellow made up half of the '90s version of Big Star. A solid career, and both founding members were ready to go separate ways.
But something happened along the way to breaking up. The pair got together, sans any other auxiliary band members, to select material for a box set. "In doing this," Auer explains, "it was necessary for us to go through piles and piles of old tapes -- we didn't just want to leave it to someone else. So we basically reviewed our entire history together, from the earliest demos to the last thing we ever did, and it was pretty amazing. We had a really good time doing it; we laughed a lot. Ken and I share a kind of a sense of humor, which has gotten us together over the years."
This rekindled friendship led to an agreement to play and record an acoustic show (released on Houston Party records as "Alive Before the Iceberg"), which in turn led to a three-month acoustic "world tour" in the summer and fall of 2000.
The Posies since their inception in 1988 have comprised Auer, Stringfellow and a host of rhythm section occupants. For this new version, they picked bassist Matt Harris (late of Oranger and Overwhelming Colorfast) and drummer Darius Minwalla (a veteran of both Stringfellow and Auer solo projects), and once again the Posies were a band.
But due to other commitments, "Every Kind of Light" didn't get underway until February 2004. And when it did, it happened in a flash.
"We had essentially three weeks to make most of a record and literally from scratch," Auer says. "I had brought in one backup idea in case nobody had any ideas. And the first day we started working on this idea, which became 'Conversations.' By the end of the day we had the take, and that is what you hear on the record. And we thought, 'This is really cool!' So we came in for 12 days and said, 'What song are we gonna write today?'"
There's a lot of the old Posies spirit in harmonic rockers like "All in a Day's Work" and "I Guess You're Right," but it's definitely a new band slipping into a slinky groove on "Anything and Everything," vamping it up on the political/personal cautionary tale "Could He Treat You Better" and gently swinging its way through the coda on closer "Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive."
For Auer's part, this version of the Posies is the best, owing to the band having made it through this long, strange trip. "I think it's the most ... I don't want to use this word, but 'mature' record we've made," he says. "We have a lot of experience, and everybody contributes. That's the Posies now, and we like it this way."