Positive No – “Bonded Pair” (Stereogum Premiere)
Learning to say no is one of those things some people never learn, and you watch them struggle for it. Deciding who and what you want to have in your life necessitates a resounding “NO” to some people and things — and that can be such a constructive, life-affirming habit. That’s exactly the kind of ethos that inhabits the music of Positive No, a band out of Richmond, Virginia who began as a songwriting collaboration between Kenny Close and Tracy Wilson (formerly of ’90s post-hardcore band Dahlia Seed).
Glossa is their first full-length album and follows an initial EP from 2013 called Via Florum. Their current line-up also features Sadie Powers on bass and James O’Neill on drums, though their recording lineup included initial bass player Willis Thompson and James Menefee. More notably, both the EP and the album were produced by another post-hardcore ’90s veteran, J Robbins of Jawbox, and he helps reel in their discordant riffs and boisterous hooks when they need to be subdued. But as the first two singles “Weird Hugs” and “Pedal Through” indicate, the band easily balance aggressive percussion and tension-ridden bass with catchy melodies.
Today we’re premiering “Bonded Pair,” the sound of false starts, gears scraping, and eventual, obvious harmony. The sweetness comes toward the song’s faintly whispered, nearly twee middle, before breaking back out into a storm of catharsis. Read what Wilson had to say about the track and listen below:
Seven years ago I brought home two cats from a rescue shelter. They were a bonded pair and much like when two humans deeply connect, a permanent separation can have devastating results. Eugene & Frances (named for The Vaselines) are a wonderful daily reminder of friendship so when my best friend moved to a city far away and went through a tough time, I felt incredibly helpless. I wrote “Bonded Pair” in an effort to bridge the miles between us and offer her a permanent reminder that she is loved and missed by me.