SXSW live shot
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 24, 2006
Karma Lounge, Thursday 16
The last place any band wants to be stuck showcasing at is a non-Sixth Street venue that only hosts live music during SXSW. Such was the case with Karma Lounge, and such was the luck of Figurines, an affable Danish quartet that turned in an enjoyable closing-time set for a smallish but appreciative crowd. Given their shaggy manes and untucked vintage Western shirts, one could be forgiven for pegging Figurines as roots rockers upon first glance, but this book definitely didn't match its cover. While vaguely westward flourishes popped up here and there, the band's primary focus was on quick darting, stingingly emotive post-punk blasts of the Built to Spill variety. Vocalist/guitarist Christian Hjelm sang with a high-pitched nervousness that added vulnerability to quirky, sentimental songs like "The Wonder" and "I Remember" from their U.S. debut, Skeleton (The Control Group). Between their obtuse guitar riffs, rise-and-fall song structures, and careful attention to tone (the latter characteristic seems to be emblematic of Scandinavian pop bands), Figurines gamely packed in more skitter than three cups of coffee. Even if their sound was somewhat obvious in its inspiration, their solid, juiced-up delivery could've really set it off on the right night in the right room.