On his first full-length solo release, Posies frontman Jon Auer delivers more of the melodic, heartfelt pop that longtime fans have come to expect. Harking back to the pristine and deliberate Baroque pop of the Posies' Dear 23 with a bit of Frosting on the Beater's epic rock thrown in for good measure, Songs from the Year of Our Demise is a deeply thoughtful and obviously personal album. Tracks such as "Bottom of the Bottle," "The Likes of You," "My Sweet Unknown," and "You Used to Drive Me Around" find Auer ruminating over such dark topics as alcoholism, strained parent/child relationships, and failed romances. The sparkling fretwork of Auer -- an oft underrated guitarist -- is on display throughout and he's even expanded his aural palette to include a pleasant blend of organ and Mellotron. Having been involved with both the re-formed Big Star and the reunited Posies projects (In Space and Every Kind of Light, respectively), both of which fell somewhat short of each band's past work, it's nice to hear Auer in top form here.