Jon Auer Songs from the Year of Our Demise

Friends and loved ones of Jon Auer ought to keep a close eye on the Posies co-founder and, as a precaution, do away with any sleeping pills and razor blades kicking around his house. According to just about every track on this lengthy solo debut, Auer is in a serious emotional funk, or at least he was over the course of the five years it reportedly took him to work this material out. The disc’s predominantly sullen tone, though, is ultimately what sets the work apart from the power pop catalogue of the Posies, along with Auer’s adventurous instrumentation choices, including cellos, chimes and a range of keyboards. However, Auer’s distinct voice (served up all warm and double-tracked throughout) ought to instantly endear this effort to Posies fans. To a track, the disc exudes studio refinement and great care, almost to the point of obsession. But such is often the case with recordings wherein every performance, ever lyric and every mix was executed by a lone artist/producer. The payoff for Auer (and for his fans) is a lush and masterful disc, which if the effect of the listening experience is any indication, must have been extremely exhausting to make. (Paramount Vantage)