By Brian A. Gnath, Michigan Daily Online, 22 April 1996
If the third time is the charm, then the fourth has got to be the gold. Seattle’s Posies, the city-of-grunge’s sweetest smelling flower, are set to release their fourth LP, “Amazing Disgrace” on May 14. Capturing the band’s effervescent live energy and their hardest hitting songs yet, “Amazing Disgrace” is the Posies’ most adventurous and exciting record to date.
Following up the pop-kings’ 1993 release, “Frosting On the Beater,” which produced the hit “Dream All Day,” “Amazing Disgrace” shines with the band’s rich Beatle-esque harmonies, but doesn’t get bogged down with the softer, syrupy-sweet melodies that slowed their previous records.
“I’m really happy with it. I think it’s really diverse,” vocalist / guitarist Jon Auer told The Michigan Daily in a recent phone interview from Bristol, England. “It’s the first time we actually had a whole band playing all at once on it. It wasn’t like an overdub freakout session.”
While Auer said the album took more than three years to complete due to membership changes, vacationing and therapy, the Posies have returned with a record of potent songwriting and beautiful melodies that were well worth the wait.
Most of all, “Amazing Disgrace” rocks. Songs like the album’s opener, “Daily Mutilation,” push the boundaries of the band’s music while others like “Precious Moments” and “Ontario” stay true to the band’s much loved style.
“It’s a record of contrast,” Auer said. “It’s got a lot of stuff that’s heavy, and stuff that’s pretty and a little softer. It’s the first time I think we’ve effectively captured some balls on record.
“People always used to come to our live shows and say we sound more like the Buzzcocks, verses the Hollies, which we used to always get (from people who had heard our records). That was a big frustrating point for us for a long time. I think a lot of people are surprised (the album) is as aggressive as it is, but every record we’ve made is just a statement of where we’ve been at the time.”
Founding members Auer and Ken Stringfellow (vocals / guitar), who met when was Jon was 13 years old and Ken was 14 years old, have been the only two consistent members of the Posies. This incarnation of the band features Joe Bass on bass and Brian Young on drums.
“You’ve got to understand — we’re two boys who grew up together, and popped a lot of the same things from the same records, and read a lot of the same books and watched a lot of the same movies, so it’s like we’re like two sides of the same coin,” said 26-year-old Auer. “We’ve simultaneously come up with songs that have almost identical titles and are about the same things from opposite perspectives.”
Filled with numerous great tracks like the classic-Posies “Throwaway,” “Fight It (If You Want)” and “Precious Moments,” the album is thoroughly enjoyable. “Grant Hart,” a hard-rocking tribute to Husker Du, and “Hate Song,” which features Robin Zander and Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick, both make thrilling editions to “Amazing Disgrace.”
Auer said “Daily Mutaliation” is a metaphor for psychological abuse, and more specifically about how he almost left the band at the end of the “Frosting On the Beater” tour. “Everybody Is A Fucking Liar” deals with the hypocrisy of religion, specifically right-winged Christianity. The album’s first single is the driving track “Please Return It.”
Despite the quality of the record, Auer is cautious to predict whether it will take off and be the band’s big break into the mainstream.
“At this point I’ll just say I give it my all,” he said. “Everyday I work, everyday I play and try to have fun and do everything I can to push it. … I would very much like to be more successful, I don’t think for the wrong reasons, but just that I’ve been doing this for seven or eight years, and it’s still a struggle to pay all the bills and keep the band afloat. It just seems we at least deserve to be able to buy a house some day, and we’re just not going to stop working. If it doesn’t happen, then we’ll probably make one more, and if that doesn’t do it, I think we’ll probably call it a day.”