Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Figurines / Skeleton / Rating: 8.3

“Sure, frontman Christian Hjelm uncannily mixes Isaac Brock's nervous vocal tics with Doug Martsch's nasal croon, and yes, they deploy the same octave riffs and slapdash lo-fi production work that served as a staple for any number of indie legends. But Figurines carve their own niche thanks to an arsenal of refreshing, energetic hooks over a straightforward, non-disruptive palette.”

You will be hard pressed to find a figurines review that doesn’t connect the vocal dots to either (early) Built To Spill or (early) Modest Mouse. I looked at about 10 reviews this afternoon and every single one mentions those RIYLs along with The Strokes, Mercury Rev, Neil Young, Wolf Parade and even Kermit the Frog in tow. I could find more obscure bands to compare Figurines to but not mentioning the above artists would be like describing a bubble and avoiding the word round.

PFM’s six paragraph Figurines review makes my Tuning Fork job a painless and effortless one. Their rating, their description, the reality that this band won’t change your life but this record will undoubtedly become a favorite, are all 100% accurate. I merely shake my fist at the timing of this review. I have had a promo of this cd/ been raving about this cd on TFM for MONTHS, over three month to be exact. The official street date was March 7 and most other publications ran their reviews of Skeleton close to a month ago so somebody needs to turn in a tardy slip from their momma. PFM’s late to the table review is also a bit surprising taking into consideration that this record made their “recommended” list but at least we were told the breaking news about G&R’s NYC and Euro tour dates in a timely manner. (sarcasm alert)

One last note: while researching this record and the band I was reminded that they formed in the mid 90’s. I don’t know much about the water in Denmark but I suspect it may contain particles of the long sought after fountain of youth. Listening to the overall playful sounding Figurines, it would be easy to guess these guys are fresh out of high school but not so-these are adult men and for those of us on the aging side of indie rock it’s nice to know that thanks to bands like them or Love is All, you don’t have to be a kid to make a passionate youthful sounding record. (recently speaking that is)

Anyhow, Figurines first record, an EP called The Detour was released in 2001 with their debut cd Shake A Mountain making it to stores nearly two years later. The import version of Skeleton was released LAST year so WTF number two is why did such a fantastic pop record have to wait sooo long to be released in the States??? Now people are wasting their money on that klunker of a new Built To Spill record and damn it, they should be buying Figurines if they are looking for charming indie rock. Oh, and a Dead bootleg if they enjoy songs that sound like they may never end thanks to over indulgent guitar wankery. (If I could steal Dug Martch’s whammy bar from his guitar I would; somebody needs to bring a stop to his noodlemania!!!)

PS: Figurines should not to be confused with Jimmy Tamborello's (Postal Service / DNTEL)
recording project called Figurine.