Last month we looked at the first of a series of fine reissues by Seattle’s pure power-rockers, The Posies. The terrific two CD set, expanding their 1990 release called Dear 23, is out now from Omnivore Recordings; (you can click here to read my review). This month we will look at their 1993 sequel and the band’s arguable popular breakthrough called Frosting On The Beater (with its MTV hit “Dream All Day”). Like Dear 23, Frosting On The Beater is also out now on a nice deluxe edition styled, double-disc CD package. The first disc features a remastered album and the second a wealth of outtakes, alternates and demos.
This new LP version of Dear 23 is a terrific tribute to a fine album which only came out on CD back in the day here in America (checking discogs.com, I see a German pressing from 1990 exists). Newly remastered from the original tapes by Cohearant Audio’s Kevin Gray, the new incarnation of the album is designed to play at 45 RPM for the best possible fidelity from a long playing record, delivered to you on high quality, dead quiet 180-gram black vinyl. Indeed spread out over two discs with roughly three songs per side, these pop confections have never sounded better.
The rock songs sound big and punchy…. bright and shiny… even dark and gritty at times. But for this reviewer the acoustic-driven tracks are where things really start to sparkle, especially on songs like “Apology” and the wrenching “You Avoid Parties.” There, the spotlight is on the fantastic vocals of founding members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow and the sound there may well be demo disc worthy for those of you who look for that sort of thing to show off your hi fi systems. These guys are modern day torchbearers for classic two-part pop harmony, a legacy which stretches back past Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds, past Big Star on down to The Everly Brothers. Really, I have seen them live and they are that good.
The vinyl pressings on this collection are really nice and the music benefits greatly from the 45 RPM presentation, with a shimmering high-end, round mid ranges and a tight bottom end. Its a bright but ultimately full sounding spin as ’90s pop recordings go; this is a good one.
The CD reissue of Frosting On The Beater is also a wonderful listen. As with the reissue of Dear 23, this new edition has been remastered and sounds a bit richer than earlier editions. While the original album remains a great “modern rock” confection with a driving melodic twist, the real stars here are the bonus tracks which account for the majority of the music on this set.
Once again you get loads of demos, outtakes and alternates (30! Count ’em! 30!). I really like the stripped down demos such as Jon’s lovely “Ladies and Gentlemen.” His version of “Dream All Day” underscores to just how well formed that song was before they even got to a real studio.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea that there is some cool stuff here, If you’re a fan of this record and this band, you need to own this. Hopefully by the time the next reissue in the series comes out, Amazing Disgrace, I’ll get my hands on a vinyl copy of Frosting on the Beater to let you know how that stands up. In the interim, if you want to check out these albums you can find them streaming up on TIDAL in CD quality. Click here for Frosting and here for Dear 23.