The Figgs

Badger

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    8
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Though only a six-song EP, Badger packs in as much urgency and well-seasoned harmonies as any of the Figgs' other five releases. Songwriters Pete Donnelly and Mike Gent never fail to deliver some of the best-quality guitar pop, regardless of slight differences in style. Their previous album, Sucking in Stereo, saw a turn toward a more stripped-down, less-produced sound; Badger kicks it back up with a thicker, warmer production and perfectly layered guitars. There are some songs on this that may be considered the best, most thought-out tunes that the Figgs have ever recorded; "Trench" is impeccably arranged and performed, with a heartfelt vocal theme of mistakes and soaring guitar leads in the vein of the Replacements' latter days. "Three Times a Riff" rocks enough to make a band like the Supersuckers proud, while the road-weary Donnelly confesses, "Though I've been in a million places, I still feel so left out." Gent has his day on "To Throw Us" and "Send Fever to Guide," which sound up to par with the last album's tone (stylistically more similar to early Joe Jackson), while he really shines on the closing number, "With Pounding Hearts." Including a harmonica solo and lead guitar by Johnny Spaminato of NRBQ, this song is instantly memorable and personifies the "us versus the world" mentality that a band like the Figgs has adopted in order to continue touring and crafting great songs.

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