Over time tastes can change. When I was a child I hated the taste of cheese and onion crisps, preferring the sharp bite provided by salt and vinegar, however the onset of adulthood brought with it a distaste for my former favourites and their overpowering attack on my tastebuds and I started to find the more subtle taste of cheese and onion crisps far more palatable.
It can be the same for music as well. When I first heard The Posies back in late 2004 I liked their power-pop approach to rock music and I became quite a fan of their music. Nine years later though my opinion on Frosting On The Beater has subtly shifted over time, as it slowly slides down my list of favourite albums to settle at the point where it is now. While I still have a healthy respect for the musical and lyrical abilities of Posies mainstays Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, I’ve slowly become disenchanted with how this album sounds. For me the perfect meshing of the deep-pile guitars just doesn’t press my buttons as it once did. Yes they are loud and well played, but I no longer find myself as enamoured by them as I once was as they lack the grunt and edge that I like to hear in guitar music. The other thing that I find a little wearying is the over-use of the harmony vocals. Don’t get me wrong, Auer and Stringfellow’s voices sound fantastic together, but the harmony vocals are so over-used that I have started to fear for my teeth such is the unrelenting sweetness.
If the deep-pile guitars and honey-sweet vocal harmonies are to your taste, or even if you have even just a passing interest in power-pop you will enjoy Frosting On The Beater as The Posies are one of the finest bands of the genre and songs like “Flavor Of The Month” and “Definite Door” are among the best to come out of the Auer and Stringfellow writing partnership. While the production of the album may no longer be to my taste, the songwriting definitely is, with it’s obvious nods to the likes of Big Star, Badfinger and their ilk.
As I understand it Geffen had more than their fair say in how Frosting On The Beater turned out, rejecting it in its original form and demanding that the band record more hits. If this indeed did happen, then chances are they influenced the production as well, which is what prevents Frosting On The Beater being a transcendent listen. The album had the potential to be great, as closer “Coming Right Along”, the one song that sounds a little more raw than the rest, proves. Like I say, over time your tastes inevitably change.
Frosting On The Beater is a great album of solid material which is hamstrung by a record company that felt it knew best and dabbled with a bands muse in an attempt to increase the level of income an album would generate. To be fair, this wasn’t the first time this kind of thing happened, and it certainly wasn’t the last. It’s just a great shame that they decided to dabble with this band while they made this album, as the eventual release ended up so tantalisingly close to greatness.