For a band that only seems to release albums once every five years, The Posies have been remarkably consistent since their comeback in 2005. Both Every Kind of Light and Blood/Candy were solid, enjoyable rock albums, a tradition continued on Solid States. This consistency is doubly impressive, given the tragic circumstances surrounding the band’s recent lineup changes. Drummer Darius Minwalla passed away in 2015, and former bassist Joe Skyward left the band in 2014, before passing away this year. In spite of this, the band has managed to make a record that largely matches up to the standards of their former work.
Solid States doesn’t diverge much from the faintly experimental power-pop sound of Blood/Candy, although on the whole, the album sounds a bit more relaxed, and more weathered by time. Whilst opener We R Power is energetic and propulsive, it’s the exception that demonstrates the restraint of the rest of the record. Tracks like Titanic and Rollercoaster Zen trade on laid-back, mid-tempo grooves, and mellow guitar and synth lines. However, even when the instrumentals threaten to fade into the background, the band’s trademark harmonies keep the songs catchy and fun.
The biggest missteps of the album come when the band tries to expand beyond their natural area of expertise. The Definition trades out the band’s usual melodicism for vocal lines straight out of Toxic-era Brittany Spears, and the track fits awkwardly on the album, as well as simply being a perplexing detour from their established style. Whilst there are missteps, tracks like Squirrel vs Snake remind one how solid a band The Posies are, with its catchily rhythmic guitar strumming, and bombastic drumming. They may be sticking to what they do best, but given how good they are at it, and given the infrequency of their albums, The Posies could continue this pattern indefinitely and still be worth listening to.