Figments of Our Imagination, Janie Price’s third album as Bird, is deceptively simple. Commonly utilising simple Casio keyboard beats as the simple groundwork for songs to build into something full and inspiring, it’s a mixture of some retro pop stylings with a modern indie twist. With all of the instrumentation performed by Price herself and production work by Chris Kimsey added on top, there’s a lot of power behind it, too.
Despite the album’s use of static instruments throughout, a real effort has been made to give each song its own identity, or to push songs into different genres. While Girl Can’t Decide opens on a minimal, bouncy pop moment, Thrill Me instantly follows it up with a more in-your-face style of guitar pop. Most exciting in the early stages is the wall of sound that is The Dare’s chorus, which threatens to collapse into a complete mess but rides the line so perfectly that it pulls it off. With the addition of the jazzy Lucky and the pop-and-cello mix of Hypnotise, there’s a lot of ground covered.
The album features two distinctly quality cuts that shine above the rest. The charming introduction for Small Town revolves around different bouncy piano lines, betraying the darker intentions behind the song but also showcasing the hopeful side of the song; starting minimal, but building up to a frantic, moody drum arrangement halfway through the song. Drink Drink Drink opens once again with a Casio beat and a dark atmosphere, but leading into a chorus defined by its sweeping cello and drums, all while following a waltz-style progression; it’s easily the strongest example of the album’s great production and writing.
Figments of Our Imagination is full of solid pop songs, sold by the solid identities and personalities that each of the songs has. At worst a song can be called pleasant, and at best a song like Drink Drink Drink can be called amazing; there’s no real wrong move made, and the intimacy behind it granted by Price’s multi-instrumental talents makes it all the more impressive. Figments of Our Imagination is a truly engaging piece of pop magic.