Denmark’s Figurines put their own country’s twist on alt-country with some appropriately stark atmospheres, but infuse it with airy emotion. Chilling melodies are a smooth backdrop for Christian Hjelm’s pained warble that altogether make an affecting, lonely album. Figurines’ third album, When the Deer Wore Blue, has a distracted distance in its music, but that opens up the space for Hjelm’s vocals to shine.
The most notable aspect of When the Deer Wore Blue is its immensely permeable sound. Spacing between not only instruments but notes, too, create a cavernous sound that’s freshly underachieving. The energy isn’t missing, it’s just more subtle and concentrated. "Childhood Verse" opens the album with an icy harmony and piano interplay reminiscent of some fairy tale ice palace. On "The Air We Breathe", Hjelm’s strain echoes with little fracturing as only a piano, organ, and slight guitar even think of interfering. "Hey Girl" quickens the pace somewhat, but still has a frosty, blue-blooded feel. "Angels of the Bayou" is simply cold and metallic. The striking, intelligent lack of modern, over-produced density is the album’s bread and butter.
Much like a fictional ice palace, When the Deer Wore Blue is both cold and intriguing. It’s not about what’s there as much as what’s not there. Floors, walls, and ceilings made of ice are particularly interesting because there’s no clutter, no dust, and the lulling comfort of heat. When the Deer Wore Blue has no such comfort of warm beats, despite its country roots, which makes it that much more special. It may not be lovable, but you surely can’t ignore it.