The Figurines and the George Koreins - Haunted Rowhomes

9 songs
17:00 minutes
***** ***


Over the last eight months, I have reviewed four records by George Korein. He was then performing with his band The Spleen, and now that that is over, we get a collaborative album with the elusive artist Figure Een, plus a couple of guest musicians. Just as The Spleen was a loose collective of musicians, this new short album is more or less the same, with the distinction that we have two masterminds steering the ship.

With only nine songs, the album is exactly seventeen minutes short, with all but two tracks running under two minutes. This works especially well on Haunted Rowhomes’ first half. Starting with Haunted Rowhome, the duo sets the mood for its weirdness with a crackling sound and a somewhat gothic horror atmosphere. Walrus Moustache, a piece about philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, turns out to be downright power pop song and is that actual hit of the album. Just too bad that the fun is over after not exactly two minutes. Drumthwacket and Doodling Jack come with bizarre lyrics courtesy of Figure Een. Philip Repeats Recursive Jokes is surreal song about composer Philip Glass, with guest vocals by Erica Corbo which elevate the song to a whole new level. The second half is more experimental, and starts with the two "long" songs, both just over three minutes, Pizzicato Groteskem and One Meridians, the latter being followed by One Meridians 2: Perfect Asphalt, and then the album ends with Haunted Rowhomes, a plural version of the singular opener, coming with a similar kind of atmosphere, but performed on a mellotron.

The first half of the album is truly sublime. Imagine a mix between Primus and the Residents. Walrus Moustache and Philip Repeats Recursive Jokes are my two favourites, and maybe The Figurines and the George Koreins should make more with Erica Corbo. The second half is more cerebral, possibly intellectual but still comes with enough strangeness to make it appealing. Like always, this is a pay-what-you-want effort, but these artists definitely deserve to see some money for their art.

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