Satisfyingly Smooth Pop
Figments of Our Imagination is a sonically-rich production, with dozens of instruments making their way into the mix. This is a particularly impressive feat considering every recorded instrument on the album was performed by Janie Price, aka Bird. Beginning her musical career as a cellist, Bird has now expanded her talents to incorporate a wide variety of instrumentation, lending a touch of quirk to what are her fairly straightforwardly structured pop songs.
The production and mixing are provided by industry legends Chris Kimsey and Lee Groves, respectively, and their veteran techniques make quite an impact on the sound of the album. The production is certainly quite polished, however it never quite reaches the levels of over-production heard all too often on Top 40 hits. Instead, songs like “Thrill Me” and “Small Town” are just rough-edged enough to add an “alternative” tag to the pop.
The clearest influences on Figments of Our Imagination are trip-hop and electro-pop, but several of the songs are more rock oriented; “Hypnotise” starts out with an echoing electronic beat, slowly evolving into a shoegaze-light chorus, and “Stereotype” even features a little guitar distortion to complement the background trumpeting.
While the vocals are typically at the top of the producer’s mix, they never quite overpower the tracks in the manner of many pop records. Considering Price is responsible for every recorded sound on the record, it’s unsurprising she would have little ego about not making her vocals the prominent feature of her songs. Often it simply serves as another instrument in the mix, working on equal footing with the drums, guitars, bass, keyboards, strings, horns and anything else Price could get her hands on.
There are no jaw-dropping tracks on Figments of Our Imagination. Instead, it is a record that works best creating in a collective vibe and setting a pleasant mood for its 38-minute duration.