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The Posies - Solid States (Review)

The Posies, Solid States

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Posies eighth studio album – and first since 2010’s Blood/Candy – is a consistently enjoyable reminder of why mainstays Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow have been able to keep going for the past 30 years.

Featuring the same winning formula of finely honed melodies, trademark vocal harmonies and astute lyrical agility, this finds The Posies drawing on everything from shimmering guitar pop to Beatles-esque classic rock and even psychedelia.

But above all, it finds them still finding fresh and relevant, no mean feat when you consider the turmoil the band have faced in recent years. Indeed, a lot of this latest album has been informed by the sudden [and unexpected] death of their drummer, Darius, last year.

The tragedy forced them to take stock, with the ensuing song-writing adopting a more fragile and contemplative nature, encompassing themes such as death, divorce and – almost inevitably – loss.

Nevertheless, The Posies have retained the upbeat nature of the supporting instrumentation in a lot of cases. And the result, while offering plenty to contemplate, also guarantee that there’s an easy-going nature to a lot of the material that instantly endears.

Album highlight Squirrel Vs Snake, for instance, combines sharp acoustic licks with the type of vocal delivery and harmonising that bands such as Fountains of Wayne and They Might Be Giants would be proud to call their own. What’s more, it’s resolute in its political observations.

The song itself reflects the state of the ‘dis­union’ in the USA and beyond… “the disharmony, the threats to intellectual freedom, and the cynicism and lies we take for granted now in the age of doublespeak,” according to the band. It’s a really great song and – perhaps – the album’s crowning achievement.

But March Climes, with its futuristic synths and smooth acoustic pop vibe, is another toe-tapping gem, while Scattered is one of those moments that taps into a quasi Beatles/Sgt Pepper meets Supertramp vibe. It starts out a little trippy, is rammed full of breezy, ’70s style harmonies and is a real flight of fantasy.

In contrast, The Plague adopts a more gritty style of rock that invigorates and even delves into trippy, psych-rock territory, while Unlikely Places offers up one of the most effortlessly enjoyable indie-pop rides on the LP, with a lush chorus that’s tailor-made for sunshine places.

Rollercoaster Zen is another daydream of a record that boasts a really bright synth-pop vibe, while both the album opener, We R Power (with its breezy guitar work) and closer, Radiance (with its slick electronics, harmonious chorus and rousing electric guitar solo), help to ensure the LP is book-ended by two easy to like tracks.

But in truth, The Posies have been doing this kind of thing for a long time now. Solid States merely reminds you of what a great band this Seattle outfit are. And it could even help them to win over more fans. It deserves to.

Download picks: Squirrel Vs Snake, March Climes, The Plague, Unlikely Places, Radiance

Track listing:

  1. We R Power
  2. Unlikely Places
  3. Scattered
  4. Titanic
  5. Squirrel vs Snake
  6. March Climes
  7. M Doll
  8. The Definition
  9. The Plague
  10. Rollercoaster Zen
  11. The Sound Of Clouds
  12. Radiance