Figure Walking – The Big Other, 4/5

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Photo provided by Killbeat Music.

On April 28, Winnipeg-based two-piece Figure Walking will release their debut album The Big Other as they begin a tour of eastern Canada. Comprised of critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Greg MacPherson on vocals and guitar and Rob Gardiner of Conduct on drums, the two deliver powerful, thoughtful alt-rock music.

The Big Other really showcases MacPherson’s strong songwriting. The album is a response to the rising tensions and inequality in society. It kicks off with the atmospheric “Sounds,” which builds in tension into the even more frantic “Submarine.”

“Spring Thaw” – with a similar post-punk energy to “Submarine” – is a nod to the infamous Winnipeg winters and the energy that is released when the weather finally starts to warm up.

“The Country,” reminiscent of MacPherson’s 2010 release Mr. Invitation, is a jubilant track about prairie life.

“Summer Haze” is just that – giving those acid rock vibes that perfectly accompany summer sun and the daze of heat. The tune is carried by a constant, hypnotic guitar, with MacPherson’s voice soaring over it.

Yet another standout track, “Blue World” cries “In this blue, blue world / we will do what we can do / to believe in ourselves / and to take something from the mistakes we made,” as if to preach a humane attitude to our mistakes, and the people around us.

The Big Other gets political, but doesn’t divorce itself from the flawed and endearing nature of humanity.

The tracks do get a little repetitive at times, sound-wise; while MacPherson’s voice is engaging, the instrumentals and vocal progressions just don’t vary much throughout the album. This allows listeners to enjoy MacPherson’s lyricism – however, it would be interesting to see Figure Walking experiment with more varying instrumentation and styles in the future.