Saturday, August 29, 2015

Album Review: The Posies - Frosting On The Beater

The impression I had of The Posies is that of a slightly fey, strumalong band who listened to a bit too much Big Star and Teenage Fanclub.  But their third album Frosting On The Beater, released in 1993 is a dirtier, heavier beast.  It gets rid of the jangly guitars, replacing them with heavy riffs.  It works really well.  From the opening track Dream All Day. the drums hit harder and the guitars rock more, while maintaining a catchy tune.  In fact the likes of Solar Sister and Flavor of the Month aren't too far off Teenage Fanclub's debut album A Catholic Education.

The album is definitely informed by the prevailing musical mood at the time in America, which was grunge, hence it was produced by Don Fleming (Sonic Youth, Screaming Trees, TFC etc).  But it works terrifically - the rollicking Definite Door is absolute gold.  Opening with a defiant guitar flourish, the track barrels along with a killer melody batted back and forth by hard-riffing guitars.

Some of it can be self-indulgent, Burn & Shine goes on a bit with an extended guitar outtro, as if they were trying a little too hard to show off how well they can play their guitars, while later Lights Out can be a little repetitive.  The album actually improves in the latter half, many of the better tracks have been squirrelled away here.  20 Questions could be something off Neil Young's Ragged Glory, the Posies cranking out the riffs in a very Crazy Horse manner with Mike Musburger pounding the drums as if his life depends on it, and How She Lied By Living is in a similar vein, almost grunge-like in its intensity.  The album finishes with the downcast, bluesy Coming Right Along.

This is an album that defines that over-used term, power pop, as there is plenty of both here.  Anyone who likes Teenage Fanclub will surely enjoy this.