Alex Chilton of Big Star, who has died at the age of 59 in New Orleans, La. after…
- Posted on Sep 20th 2010 4:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"We're used to doing things down and dirty in general, but this record demanded a lot more of us musically, and we could spare, with all our schedules, a week and a half, and that'll be to work on the new songs, really," co-founder Ken Stringfellow tells Spinner from his home in Paris. "To me, I don't know if it's going to be enough, but it's going to have to be."
'Blood/Candy' is the seventh full-length Stringfellow has written and recorded with longtime partner Jon Auer. The two have been cranking out muscular, melodic, lyrically oblique rock songs since the late '80s, before the music industry descended on their native Seattle and made stars of the city's more abrasive, less tuneful bands.
Auer and Stringfellow had a falling-out in the late '90s, but they reconvened in 2001 and released a comeback album, 'Every Kind of Light,' four years later. They also backed '70s hero Alex Chilton in a latter-day incarnation of Big Star, which they joined in 1993.
Going into 'Blood/Candy,' Auer and Stringfellow wanted to bash out a collection of straight-up rockers. As rehearsals for the group's spring Barcelona recording sessions wore on, however, the music took on more of a "Science Fiction" edge, as Auer describes it in the album's press release.
While not huge departures -- the Posies' patented hooks, harmonies and guitar crunch remain in abundance -- the disc's more adventurous songs feature synths and shape-shifting arrangements.
"Really, if we're being fair, it would seem they'd require more people than are going to be onstage to pull them off correctly," Auer says from Seattle, where he still resides. "In the case of some of them, it might be like trying to do some major military operation with just a handful of men, like storming the beach at Normandy with four guys or something."
Asked what new songs he's most worried about, Auer cites 'Licenses to Hide' and 'Accidental Architecture,' a jaunty Wings-style arena-prog jam and psychedelic-jazz-chamber-pop oddity, respectively.
"Those two in particular are the ones that we took to new levels of layering and baroqueness and whatnot," Auer says. "We're going to really have to get down to business and figure it out. We've definitely painted ourselves into a corner, and maybe that's a good thing. We do like a good challenge. We're going to have to rise to the occasion."
Weren't they thinking in the studio about how they might recreate the songs live?
"A wiser person -- a less artistic person -- might have been that practical," Stringfellow says, "but we weren't that practical."