Seattle-born rockers the Posies, who delivered one of the ’90s best power pop gems in 1993’s Frosting on the Beater, are back with their forthcoming seventh studio album, Blood/Candy — and it’s a nuanced, playful romp. Hear the theatrical song “Licenses to Hide” below!
After branching out sonically on 2005’s Every Kind of Light — then, their first album in seven years — and touring the world extensively, Posies principles Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow considered a back-to-basics, less complicated approach for the follow-up. But Blood/Candy (out Sept. 28 on Ryko) ended up taking a totally opposite tack.
“Didn’t someone once say, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’?” Auer tells SPIN.com. “It became pretty obvious when the songs started coming in that this was not going to be some simple, stripped-down type of record.Did I know how complex and involved it would become at the time when we started working on it?I couldn’t have had a clue.”
Adds Stringfellow: “The fact that we tried to make this our ‘return to our roots’ record, then came up with this, just shows you how little we know ourselves.”
“Licenses to Hide” is emblematic of the new album’s adventurous attitude, with a dizzying amalgamation of parts, not unlike a piece of musical theater. After opening with a somber, piano-led musing, where Stringfellow delivers a line about “feeling so old” backed by the Posies’ trademark, chill-inducing harmonies (with an assist from Broken Social Scene’s Lisa Lobsinger), the track veers into both ’70s arena rock (think Styx, in a very complimentary way) and a Billy Joel-like, storyteller-style chorus.
“‘License to Hide’ is one of two songs on the record that I think is so completely out of left field for us,” says Auer. “I always thought that the Posies should have something that resembles a showtune in our canon… On a certain day, it could be in one of the Muppet movies — and I mean that in a good way.”
“It’s just about shedding the inhibitions to be yourself,” Stringfellow says of the song’s message. “So many people present themselves as the people they want to be seen as — and there’s something noble about that. As you grow older, you might earn the right to be that person, having tried other things, and maybe that person isn’t so bad.”
After a European tour in September and October, the Posies will tour the U.S. behind Blood/Candy in November and December, and Stringfellow promises the tour will feature some “interesting ideas,” but wouldn’t elaborate further. The band did play an unconventional show this past April in Seattle, performing a set at the 600-capacity Crocodile that featured all of Frosting on the Beater and 13 brand new songs, most of which ended up on the new album.
Listen: The Posies, “Licenses to Hide”
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