Change is on its way.
This marks the fourth full-length release for the group, fronted by husband and wife duo Colleen and Steve Murphy.
The lineup has changed as well, and the rebirth of the band fits nicely with the motif.
Back in the lineup is bassist Steve (Steevo) Presant, who played on the band’s previous outings. New to the mix is drummer/flutist Melissa Parrott.
The theme of the album is metamorphosis, and it explores the changes that occur once you reach a certain point in life – people get bored, get restless, get anxious, get divorced. What matters, and what Figure 4 does so well, is moves on.
Living and learning
“It’s a combination of moving on with things and letting things go,” Colleen said. “Getting back to what you want in life.”
It’s simple, emotional music, presented in a bittersweet way.
“We generally write about what’s going on in our lives,” Steve said, adding that they draw on not only their own experiences, but those of friends and family. Divorce, mental illness, disillusionment, and getting to an age where your goals fade into dreams – these hard realities lend themselves to the theme of rebirth.
“The songs definitely touched on those people going through hard times.”
While Colleen will tell you her songs are about more silly things, her feet-on-the-street perspective can cross from personal to political.
Colleen’s an active commentator on life in London, with her blog London Colleen (a shoutout to the Clash), tackling many social and political issues including the city’s slowest burning wick – rapid transit.
Her song, “Been Out Walking,” is a tribute to the love-hate-love relationship many Londoners have with the bus. It’s a subtle approach, however, and the easy listening melodies soften the statement by making it a story.
The album’s closer, “Drinking On A Sunday Night,” was the first song that Steve and Colleen wrote together. Not surprisingly, the writing session was made possible by drinking on a Sunday night.
There was even an unintentional youtube reference in Steve’s song, Listen Linda.
Steve said the idea came from a group of kids in his neighbourhood shouting, “Listen Linda, Linda listen!” while playing in the street. It was only later he found out those kids were imitating a viral video of a three-year old arguing with his mom over cupcakes.
Taking time to get it right
The album was recorded entirely in the Murphy’s home studio, without the pressures of time and money. Because of this, the album is more cohesive than previous outings, where the time constraints of the studio dictated the final product.
“In the studio, those first four hours go by really quickly,” Colleen said. “Then it’s, ‘We only have a day and a half to do this.’
“You end up saying good enough, or not fleshing things out.”
Not so with Figure 4: Molt, Rebirth. It’s Westminster Park at their best and most comfortable.
While most tracks are centered around acoustic chord progressions, the addition of flutes, keys, and bare bones drum beats add a fuller dimension to the songs. Listeners should give the album one listen for the lyrics and another for the arrangements.
Vocally, Steve and Colleen manage to both play off and compliment each other. As with the musical arrangements, it’s the simplicity of their approach that makes the songs so effective at conveying mood.
For the record
The Murphys are serious vinyl enthusiasts, with their record collection numbering into the thousands.
Figure 4 is an album written for the turntable.
“It was definitely recorded and mastered with vinyl in mind,” Steve said. “We kept it within 40 minutes. Any longer and we’d have to either do a split EP or lose fidelity.”
That meant chopping a good 45 seconds off the instrumental opener, “Metamorphosis,” but it was a sacrifice that will pay off for fans of the band.
Westminster Park is releasing 30 limited edition copies of Figure 4: Molt, Rebirth on super high quality, lathe-cut vinyl. Each 12” album is personalized complete with lyric sheets, a signed poster, and download codes.
So, take a moment and explore Westminster Park’s diverse and expansive catalogue. We all need some new music in our lives so don’t forget to order your copy ofFigure 4: Molt, Rebirth right here.
Feature photo via Facebook / westminsterparkmusic