The Posies

Every Kind of Light

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The Posies sure have a funny idea about breaking up -- though they supposedly called it quits in 1999, the band has been playing reunion shows and releasing albums of archival material on a fairly regular basis since, and 2005's Every Kind of Light is their first full-blown studio effort since 1998's alleged swan song, Success. With founders, songwriters, and general frontal lobes Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow joined by Matt Harris and Darius Minwalla, Every Kind of Light seems to pick up where Success left off, finding the band in a low-key frame of mind on most of the songs, though the rootsy accents of that album have been abandoned in favor of a stripped-down variation on the baroque pop of Dear 23. (And if you were hoping for some of the guitar firepower of Frosting on the Beater and Amazing Disgrace, there is a taste of that on "I Finally Found a Jungle I Like" and "All in a Day's Work," though the more measured tempos certainly dominate the album.) The new lineup of the band sounds as accomplished as ever, and the production (with Auer and Stringfellow credited as the Ineptunes) gives the material clean and well-arranged settings. Auer and Stringfellow's political concerns also rise to the surface here, explicitly on "Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive" and "It's Great to Be Here Again" and implicitly on "That Don't Fly" and "Could He Treat You Better," all of which deal with their mixed feelings about life in America in the wake of George W. Bush and the War in Iraq. But for all the care that obviously went into Every Kind of Light and the firm sense of purpose in its political subtext, the album in toto rings a bit hollow -- it never hits as hard as it ought to, and there's simply too much dead air in the album's long mid-tempo stretches. It's nice to have the Posies back in the studio again, but Every Kind of Light isn't the triumphant return fans might have hoped for.

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