New Band of the Month: August – Reflection

For the eight month (and final in Seattle) of the New Band feature, I selected Washington state pop rockers, The Posies (read my initial thoughts here).

How did this bit of 90s nostalgia rock strike me?

I’ve always had a soft-spot in my music-listening heart for the mid-90s pop rockers who came alive in the wake of Nirvana’s demise.  They wrote catchy hooks, nice melodies and had just enough edge in their guitar playing to be qualified as alternative rock even as they were pleasant enough sounding to play with your parents in the car.  Bands like Gin Blossoms and Better Than Ezra were too soft to ever garner the type of respect that the grunge bands received and too rock to be pure pop forces.  For a period in the mid-90s, they ruled the radio, but their era has passed.

The Posies fits pretty solidly in this tradition of pop rockers, always walking the line between delving fully into grunged up punk guitar work and middle of the road Goo Goo Dolls soft rock.  They find a pretty solid balance there, but while they are ‘harder’ than, say, Better Than Ezra (a band I unabashedly love), they lack the insanely catchy hooks and idiosyncratic flair that made some of these bands interesting.  Good?  Sure.  Memorable?  Not precisely.

The one thing that the band has going for it is their 60s-style harmonies that are always welcome in my book.  If Kurt Cobain was cribbing his style from the Beatles, the Posies were definitely listening to a lot of the Hollies and the Byrds.  It does give their sound some distinction, but ultimately the songs themselves never really grabbed me.

Will I Buy An Album?  Nah.  Nothing against the band which writes enjoyable songs, but I just never found myself thinking, “I’ve got to have this album in my collection.”  If one of their albums were playing in the background somewhere (I can’t imagine the scenario where this would be the case, but whatever), I would probably hum along.  But once it stopped, I wouldn’t think twice about the music.

Favorite Song:  I have some fondness for “Chainsmoking in the USA” from their Nice Cheekbones and Ph.D. E.P. (plus, I just love the title of the E.P.).  It’s got a hint of edge that makes it stand out for me.  Also, “Golden Blunders,” their one essential ‘hit’ is undeniably catchy in the way the best 90s pop rock songs were.  I could see myself bopping along to it between Better Than Ezra’s “Desperately Wanting” and Blind Melon’s “No Rain.”

Next Month: Hey Mcfly, you bojo.  Those boards don’t work on water.  Unless you’ve got power!