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Figures On a Beach

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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

contrary to the review...

I actually liked these guys, back in the day! "You ain't seen.." was the radio hit which got my attention, but overall, it's a pretty decent album. I was recently reminded of this band on a recent Sunday morning "retro revival" on KWOD (Sac,CA alternative station) - good thing, 'cause my old cassette of this album is shot! Other good tracks are "Nervous," "Mystified," and "Get Serious." Thank you, iTMS!

Accidentally 4th Street!!!

It's a fairly good album with lots of appeal. "you ain't seen nothing yet" is an awesome version of BTO's classic. But "accidentally 4th street" is the stand out song on this album. A dance club with that is still good today.

Great Music!

I still remember that summer evening with my best friends. We were drinking in a barn and listening to this weird band. We loved their sound and the voice of the lead singer! Green became our anthem and our private joke. I am so happy I found it on iTunes!

Biography

Formed: 1982

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

A Michigan dance-pop band (1983-1989), they were known for "Breathless."...
Full Bio
Figures On a Beach, Figures On a Beach
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