When The Deer Wore Blue

Listening to Figurines’ third album, you can’t help but scratch your deerstalker, look disdainfully at your betting slip and conclude that they backed the wrong ’60s production genius of fluctuating sanity. While 2008 looks set to be a renaissance year for Phil Spector and Joe Meek, Brian Wilson has apparently stalled at the gates. However, while this record might be uneven, over-long and at times infuriating, in places it also manages to sound absolutely gorgeous. On ‘The Air We Breathe’, Christian Hjelm’s voice trembles like Neil Young in a meat truck over whooshes of childlike harmonies, while ‘Good Old Friends’’ raggedy, down-home demeanor is hard not to love. Yet, songs schizophrenically jump from A to X, from great to merely good, with scant warning or point. Then, at other times, as on ‘Childhood Verse’, you’ll lose yourself in it like a five-acre sandpit.

Barry Nicolson