CD REVIEW BY JOEL INGLIS
In early 2017, Figure Walking announced that they would soon be releasing their debut album, The Big Other. As somebody who has been listening to Greg MacPherson’s music since he was a teenager, I was very excited and apprehensive about the change that he was making. Moving away from the name The Greg MacPherson Band to Figure Walking signalled to me that the sound that the band was going for was evolving. When one of your favourite bands evolves there’s a solid chance that the new style of music isn’t going to be what you wanted.
So I waited for the album to drop with baited breath.
The day the album finally dropped, I broke out the good headphones. The ones that are reserved for amazing records and playing video games at night when my wife’s asleep.
The album starts with a driving bass line and layers from there with guitar and drums, until finally Greg’s voice arrives. The energy and the passion don’t ease up for the next forty minutes of driving dance-able rock tracks. Rob Gardiner doesn’t shy away from laying down complex thunderous rock beats and Greg doesn’t shy away from a scathing review of the modern world through his poignant lyrics. Pinning the listener against the wall and finalizing the sound of Figure Walking, is sound of Greg’s baritone guitar. There’s something about the sound of the guitar on this album that can shake you to your core while at the same time making your feet move.
There are moments on the album that make you throw your head back, your arms out, and your feet all over the place, dancing like a fool. That is until you hear the lyrics and realize that you’re dancing to a song that tells a darker story. “Another little sister went missing last night,” echoes as your feet glide to a the deep hum of of driving power chords.
Featured on the album, in all her beautiful glory, is Hailey Primrose. Her voice, with the soul and the reverb both turned to ten, tell the story of a surprisingly romantic entrance into the mile-high club.
Providing a fitting ending for the album is “Funeral” (although it’s not the last song on the album). Featuring Hailey Primrose, Izzy Goloch, and Zorya Arrow, this song provides the thesis of the album “Let’s go try to celebrate and dance until this all makes sense,” is repeated by the group with cautious optimism while the guitar in the foreground plays on.
The album catches you from the first note and doesn’t let you go. The evolution in sound that Rob and Greg have gone through since the development of Figure Walking is something amazing to get the privilege of listening to. The Big Other is a complex and beautiful album with precise and beautiful musicianship overflowing with passion and wit.
The Big Other by Figure Walking is available through Disintegration Records.