Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
At Least at Last
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
V. Berrini | NJ, United States | 11/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Talk about getting more than you bargained for. A few short years ago, we were told the Posies had broken up. Yet between 1999 and 2000, we have seen a plethora of Posies releases (two live albums and a Best-of), a brilliantly executed acoustic tour, and now, a four-CD box set of unreleased Posies material? If all bands who break up are this active, I hope all my (other) favorite bands break up too.Now let's examine what we have here. Four (!) CDs of previously unreleased demos, live recordings, a few scattered b-sides, covers (Blondie, Cheap Trick, Big Star, MC5), and most amusingly, actual Muzak recordings of two of yr favorite Posies hits. For the hardcore-Posies head, this is manna.While it's really not necessary for anyone other than devout Posies fanatics, their greatness would be obvious to anyone listening to this box. Put simply, Ken and Jon are exceptional songwriters, two of the best we've seen in the past twenty years or so. Startlingly insightful, literate, bitingly sarcastic, with a talent for pop melody that rivals the greats (McCartney, Difford/Tilbrook, Chilton/Bell). It's all here, and it's all blindingly obvious. Even on these outtakes. This is a testament to the Posies; a band that combined the melodic genius of Big Star or Badfinger and the lyrical brillance of an Elvis Costello, and who on an angry day could rock as hard as Nirvana or Mudhoney. The demos are interesting, since many of them are full-band performances simply stripped of the various production styles used on whichever record they ended up a part of. For instance, it's fascinating to hear various Dear 23 songs without John Leckie's tower-of-swirling-echo production and realize how some benefited from it ("Any Other Way") and some would have been better off left alone ("Help Yourself"). Likewise, Amazing Disgrace songs like "World", "Fight It (If You Want)", and the particularly brilliant "Throwaway" shine equally when stripped of their grungy-guitar bombast. The early recordings are equally fascinating; the charmingly ernest pop of "Thinking Outloud" or "I Don't Want To Talk To You", the rough early live recordings of Failure favorites "Believe In Something (Other Than Yourself)" and "I May Hate You Sometimes" (it's a shame that this box is missing "Saying Sorry To Myself", which previously appeared on the Yellow Pills Vol. 2 compilation and, for me, is the epitome of their early earnest/psychoanalytic period). It may be intended just as a treat for fans but this box also effeciently tells the band's story. How Jon and Ken had grown from something great and beautifully naive to something far more complex, as seen on songs like "Burn and Shine" (heard here in an acoustic live performance) by the end of their (first) career. Through it all, their intelligence and inate sense of melody carried them through. Here's hoping the story continues for a long long time."
For real fans of The Posies, it's worth the money
Michael D. Wald | Seattle WA USA | 12/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a devoted fan of The Posies, but I have to admit I was initially wary about buying this box set, based on the sludgy "Alive Before The Iceberg" performances. But I'm definitely glad I picked this up -- it's given me a new appreciation of the early songwriting/singing talents of Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer. The crack-the-whip performance of "I May Hate You Sometimes" and the raw guitar melody of "Suddenly Mary" demo are Disc 1 highlights. The crackly, electric harmonies on "Solar Sister" and "Ladies and Gentlemen" (which later morphed into "Every Bitter Drop" on the group's last studio album, "Success") alone carry Disc 2. On Disc 3, "Come Along And Dance" combines a bittersweet wistfulness with raw rock 'n' roll guitar crunch, while the demo of "Everybody Is A Fucking Liar" reveals how strong this song was before Ken and Jon put the finishing touches on it. Finally, not to be missed is the ebullient fun of "Oceanic Exploration" (a.k.a. "Flavor Of The Month") that the band recorded for Bill Nye, Science Guy, and a note-for-note faithful cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender" (OK, the band credits at the end of the song are a bit of a departure from the original, but otherwise it sounds just like Rick Nielson, Robin Zander, Bun E. Carlos and Tom Petersson!) If you're not into The Posies yet, start with "Frosting On The Beater," "Success" and "Amazing Disgrace" before you invest in this. But I promise that once you're really a fan of The Posies, you won't be disappointed with this box set. And it has cool liner notes, too."
Bil Daniel | Seattle, WA USA | 10/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This box set is an absolute necessity for any serious Posies fan and a great addition to the collection of any "power Pop" entheusiast. Not only is it filled with catchy and poignent songs but it shows the musical development of talented teens to worldly rock stars. From the first live performance all the way to the real sign of success in today's world, muzak versions of their "hits" it is consistently pleasing. There are live versions that show vital energy that was sometimes lost in the studio recordings, shown especially in the first track of the second disc, "Flood of Sunshine". There are demos for other track that give insight to their creative process and the development of their songs. And who can beat a Bill Nye the Science Guy treatment of one of their songs as well as the National Anthem in the now rubble-ized King Dome. This collection is legendary and a pure delight."