Australian proggers Figures (I know, those one word band names kinda give the game away these days) seem a bit confused. Or at least their press release accompanying Chronos, this not unpleasant EP does. At first proclaiming the band to be artful purveyors of ‘cleverly subtle dynamics’, it then goes on to say later on that Figures ‘is a band not interested in subtlety’. If those closest to the band can’t decide how to describe them, how are barely-competent hacks like me expected to come up with something?
The truth, as ever, lies somewhere between these two signposts. When Figures do try to bludgeon the listener, they end up sounding like just about every other band – and that’s a lot – in Australia in this ilk. All of the first four songs on this five tracker have their moments, especially lead video clip Alpha, but similarly all four also get caught up in their fascination with late nineties nu-metal riffage to the detriment of the songs and the listener’s patience. However final track Crying Door – and here’s where those cleverly subtle dynamics come in – is another matter entirely.
Superbly recorded by Luke Cincotta – vocalist Mark Tronson sounds absolutely top draw throughout, but especially on this monster of a track – Crying Door comes on like nothing so much as a titanic mashup of A Perfect Circle and mid-period Depeche Mode, with obviously devastating results. I hear a lot of music as I go about my business at Sentinel Daily, but I haven’t heard much to rival this song in the sheer, aching grandeur stakes for some little while.
Good and not so good, then, in roughly equal parts, but if Figures can rein in the bombast a little and expand their sensitive side by just as much then something very special indeed has the capacity to happen. Let’s hope so!
Figures will release Chronos on June 16th.