August 01, 2020

Figures On a Beach - Figures On a Beach (1989)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Rock
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© 1989 Sire
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
The second full-length by Detroit-to-Boston transplants Figures on a Beach is an album out of time. When FOAB leader Christopher Ewan joined Stephin Merritt's Future Bible Heroes in the late '90s, his rattling synth pop melodies sounded retro and quaint. In 1989, which is when this album was released, it simply sounded terribly dated. Ewan's twinkly synths and the electro-pop sheen of Ivan Ivan's production, coupled with Anthony Kaczynski's occasionally overdramatic vocal style and the sometimes mildly pretentious lyrics, makes this album sound like the state of 1983. That said, however, if one can work past the over-slick production and over-reliance on MIDI synths, Figures on a Beach is overall a pretty good album. The ultra-catchy opener "Accidentally 4th Street (Gloria)" is probably the catchiest thing the group ever did, and songs like the wry "Clamdiggin'," the bouncy character study of a lazy sod justifying his life, reveal a sense of humor that helps deflate more ponderous tunes like the self-pitying "Welfare." However, the electronic cover of Bachman Turner Overdrive's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," undoubtedly a misguided A&R suggestion, is an abysmal failure. Figures on a Beach were clearly not a band who would fare well in the '90s, and they broke up shortly after this release.

tags: figures on a beach, figures on a beach album, 1989, flac,

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