Jon Auer Songs From The Year of Our Demise

[Pattern 25; 2006]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: pop, alternative rock
Others: The Posies, Paul Westerberg

Jon Auer has released his first post-Posies album, and it has been seven years in the making, despite the title Songs From The Years of Our Demise. Of course, he may have been a bit busy, taking part in a second round of The Posies, as a member of the current incarnation of Big Star, and working with gosh-darned William Shatner! Though power pop may be his pedigree, Songs eschews the power, to pop's overwhelming delight. The huge aesthetic of the power chord may be lost, but its energy has been siphoned into the myriad of instruments that crop up on the album.

Opener "Six Feet Under" displays this aesthetic and kicks the album off on a high. A repeated bell pattern and an insistent downbeat of (undistorted) guitar provide a launching pad for staccato strings, backing vocals, and even some synths to take the song out into orbit. "Six Feet Under" not only sets the tone musically, but also lyrically as well, with playfully melancholic lyrics like "But it's OK- Yeah, it's all right/ we can dig our graves tonight/ I'll show you yours and then you'll show me mine."

As the album's title implies, there is bit of a grey pall hovering over the album. Though this can bear down a bit on the listener, the melodies are so damn spot-on that I keep coming back again and again. Auer's reputation has centered on his knack for such melodies, and the seven years that Songs from the Year of Our Demise has taken has allowed him to pare down what I assume is a fairly large catalog of songs to the best, giving each the thoughtful production it deserves. In true Posies fashion, though, this album will likely be overlooked, which is a shame, as Songs From The Year of Our Demise is an album of cloudy-day pop that's hard to top.

1. Six Feet Under
2. Bottom of the Bottle
3. The Likes of You
4. Angelita
5. You Used To Drive Me Around
6. Song Noir
7. Daytime Lullaby
8. Josphine
9. Cemetary Song
10. My Sweet Unknown
11. Adios
12. Sundown
13. Wicked World
14. The Year Of Our Demise

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