Jon Auer / Ken Stringfellow

Private Sides

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Even though Private Sides is not the Posies reunion record that fans of the legendary power pop band were hoping for, it is bound to make the band's fans pretty happy. Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow were the leaders of the Posies, and on this six-song split EP they separately deliver three songs apiece. Auer's songs are a country-rock ballad with some mournful violin work and heartbreaking vocals ("When the Lights Go Up"), a monotonous guitar pop tune that sounds like a Posies outtake ("Beautiful"), and a pounding and monolithic track that sounds like Cheap Trick doing the soundtrack to an AIP horror movie ("All U People"). Stringfellow clocks in with a beautiful chamber pop cover of a song by British folksinger Bridget St. John ("Ask No Questions"), a hooky guitar pop song that could have been a hit for the Posies ("Don't Break the Silence"), and a loud guitar rock track that sounds like a Matthew Sweet B-side ("Prequel"). For those keeping score at home, the final total is one good song for Auer, two for Stringfellow. (And one thousand points of extra credit to both of them for their hilarious sleeve design. Anyone who lived through the '80s will get it in a minute and find it quite amusing.) So call it a victory for Stringfellow and his smooth brand of power pop revivalism. Also call it a victory for Posies fans because, while neither man seems likely to scale the heights that the Posies once did, they are both making pretty decent solo records and that is a good thing.

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