From gardens where we feel insecure! In Figurines, across a dozen elegiac, sighing song-dreams of innocence and experience, The Doozer conjures a mental allotment whose very seclusion and orderliness acts as some kinda portal to the infinite…
The Doozer - one Simon Loynes – has been been doing his thing since the mid-2000s, and for a while was part of a very loose Cambridge freak-scene with Pete Um and others; last we heard, he was laying low in Morocco. Pretty much since Siltbreeze picked up his second album, The Great Explorers, for release in 2010, it’s become de rigeur to liken his music to Syd B.'s - but while both have effortless melodic elan, a choppy minimal guitar style, and a well-to-do elocution that no amount of ludes could blunt, The Doozer doesn’t sound broken and burned out (even if he is). On the contrary... Figurines' lonesome, jangling, folk-rock classicism is so crisp and formally refined, its deep learnings expressed in the simplest, most affecting gestures, that it begins to feel archetypal, elemental….it's as if Syd tripped into the future and copped his moves from The Doozer, not the other way round.
Loynes recorded Figurines with longtime collaborator Ben K over two days in January 2017, in a Methodist chapel turned village hall in Eversden. Vocals, guitars, drums, bass and a handful of very well-judged, minimal synth daubings… that’s it. The playing is consummate but lowkey, the arrangements lucid and restrained but, when they've got the wind in their sails, Flying Nun lush and ringing and wide (‘Cricketing Men’ sounds like The Clean crashin the Village Green Preservation Society) …point is, everything serves the songs, there's not one weirdo embellishment or baroque flourish that's been tacked on for the sake of it (even the moonsick synth raga ‘Exit’’ – inferior talents have made whole albums, whole careers, out of less - is short and gorgeously understated). Yeah the most striking and terrifying thing about this LP is how STRAIGHT it is. That, perversely enough, it was makes it feel like a more genuinely strange and outsider and durable statement than all the droning stylised DIY downer-folk blah out there.
Figurines’ brisk, beautiful, battle-burnished songs feel inexhaustibly rich and talismanic – I've little doubt I’ll be seeking their counsel for many years to come, and ye gods know I'm holding 'em especially close during THIS strange uncertain time, with those lyrics that find a diffident, almost Larkinian equilibrium between the mysterious and mundane...As stoic as they are sentimental, they pine for an England that feels eternally near and eternally out of reach... an England that probably never existed at all.
“Take it from me, dear, we’ll move away from here….”
Low Company cassette edition, with download, of the album originally released on Feeding Tube in 2018. 60 copies.
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