The Figgs

Follow Jean Through the Sea

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The Figgs continue their uphill battle against the forces that struggle to keep smart, hooky pop down with their with their seventh full-length album, Follow Jean Through the Sea. Follow Jean is dominated by the concise and punchy esthetic -- the ten songs zip past in less than 33 minutes -- and while it doesn't break any new ground for the band, it makes clear that after nearly 20 years in the music biz, the Figgs aren't showing signs of giving up any time soon, and like 2004's Palais this shows the band has lost none of their zeal along the way. While numbers like "Regional Hit" and "City Loft Home" speak with a dry wit that speaks to the band's maturity with a well-earned edge of cynicism, "Jumping Again" and "Breaking Through the Gates" make it clear they haven't turned bitter, and "Let Me Hold You" is a gloriously urgent pop tune, as good as anything they've ever cut. While Follow Jean Through the Sea was committed to tape in a mere two days, it hardly sounds like a rush job; instead, the Figgs' music feels tight, committed and crafted with care, and Mike Gent and Pete Donnelly's harmonies are spot on. The Figgs have long been one of those bands that deserves better, and it's hard to say if Follow Jean Through the Sea will change their luck, but judged strictly on its merits as a set of well written and ably performed songs, this is a disc that should be heard by anyone who likes music that's intelligent and spirited at the same time. There are some of you out there, right? ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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