At some point between the recording of Skeleton
(2006) and the sessions that produced When the Deer Wore Blue
, one of the members of Figurines must have dropped acid for the first time. Rather than continuing in the crunchy guitar vein that first broke them to U.S. audiences, these Danes return to us with their heads immersed in wispy clouds of ‘60s psychedelic pop. It’s an interesting detour, and the new approach pays immediate dividends when the choral vocals of “Childhood Verse” swoop in to open the album. With guitars set to “stun” for this record, the band carves out its melodies with more subtlety and grace than on previous efforts.
That said, some of that old pop ’n’ sizzle would have come in handy for When the Deer
’s middle stretch, when the novelty of Figurines aping the Brian Wilson canon wears thin. Thankfully, the rollicking “Bee Dee” reinvigorates the set, making room for both chugging indie rock and those newfound vocal harmonies in its three-minute runtime. The song serves as a good reminder that it’s never a sin for a band to play to its strengths, even when out exploring new terrain. You have to applaud these guys for jumping out on a limb with this strange trip of a record, but they probably shouldn’t take up the ‘60s-revival cause full time.
“Let’s Head Out” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocYRedWheDw
Documentary on the recording of When the Deer Wore Blue