The Figgs “1000 People Grinning” Anthology
If you’re not familiar with The Figgs, then shame on you as they’ve been in the melodic rock business for 25 years. I am guilty of neglect here too, as I’ve lost track of the band after its earlier punk pop beginnings, represented by “Favorite Shirt” and “Wasted Pretty.”
This anthology can be considered a primer and a re-introduction to band with a hard core cult following that deserves another look. The songwriting tandem of Mike Gent, Pete Donnelly, and Guy Lyons have plenty of crunchy guitars and undeniable hooks. Gents vocals are comparable to Adam Marsland, but with less strain and more sneering confidence.The band has evolved from melodic punks, with occasional Rolling Stones and Replacements worship, to a tight unit with impeccably crafted rock gems. There are more than enough tracks here (25!) to make you a full fledged convert. I’ll be picking up plenty of the bands back catalog now ..so consider me schooled.
Rosie Abbott “Rosie Abbott”
Rosie Abbott, a UK talent from Nottingham, really caught my ear with “If Everything Was Up To Me” a melodic couplet repeated on a old sounding piano, kind of like Martin Newell mixed with Jen Oliver. Her focus then goes to atmospheric composition, matching a owl’s hoot to the melody of “Woodpigeon Translation,” but the sound effects tend to sound forced.
“Hard To Sleep” does better as a showcase for Abbot’s clear vocal. “All Skies Are Blue” feels like a Lesley Gore ballad and I wasn’t thrilled with the punk attempt “Victim Of My Imagination.” However the remaining album won me over, from “Winter’s Over” with its rolling pastoral melody. Rosie has fun with the very Bryan Scary-like “If You’re Happy And You Don’t Know It” with its theatrical organ flourishes. Like the song “One More Glass,” the best song about getting smashed from a female POV, you’ll want more than one listen to Rosie’s self-titled debut.