Figure Eight Point Five
by: Ryan Waldis
Long Island-based Figure Eight has officially entered the emo/pop-punk scene with their debut full-length album Any Given Flower. Figure Eight represents the latest project from Ryan Meyers, the talented multi-instrumentalist and producer who serves as the frontman for the band.
Meyers is joined by friends Luke Sedge and Alex and Andrew Greco; the group has quickly improved following the release of two EP’s over the past several years, August (2015) and Forever (2017). The quartet is the next in a long line of punk lineage from the Long Island area, and they combine the emotional sincerity of ‘90s emo with a hard hitting, visceral punk edge that reflects the raw intensity of the basements and late-night sessions where they crafted their sound.
Figure Eight’s freshman LP features a host of diverse instrumental work that was immediately prevalent upon my first full listen. The band caters to fans of acts such as Mom Jeans. and The Hotelier; as big fans of both of these groups, I could definitely hear some of the similarities. I think Mom Jeans., for example, tends to sound more rockish and popish (especially on their sophomore album Puppy Love) whereas Figure Eight produces a more punk-ish and indie-style sound. Having said that, as someone who deeply enjoyed the instrumental component of Puppy Love and Mom Jeans. in general, I found myself vibing with Figure’s Eight’s debut LP a lot. The chord progressions and guitar riffs throughout the ten tracks were extremely catchy while the drum patterns complimented the guitars and vocals very nicely.
Regarding the vocals, Meyers proves to be exceptional behind the microphone. It never seemed as though he was straining to reach pitches that were unrealistic or forcing notes. I’d go so far as to say that his vocal range is perfect for an album like this which tackles some emotional issues that many listeners can relate to. He managed to produce some incredible harmonies that I listened back to more than a few times in songs such as “Back of Car” and “A New Bite.”
Where Any Given Flower truly shines, though, is lyrically. Meyers penned hard-hitting and emotional-driven lyrics that easily help propel the album to “must-listen” status. In a public statement, Meyers shared that the full-length debut LP, “is a collection of songs I wrote during a two-year period of my life that deal a lot with the pain of loneliness, being young and struggling with identity and purpose.”
As someone who has battled the same issues that Meyers writes about, a lot of the songs really spoke to me as I was listening. Two of the three singles that were released over the past couple of months, “Oyster Days” and “Any Given Flower,” were very relatable, but you don’t have to be going through the same issues as Meyers was to appreciate the lyrical work that he produced.
Whenever I review an album, I like to at least consider the live component; that is, what would some of these songs sound like in a live setting. I don’t incorporate it into the final score, but it’s something fun to ponder as I listen through an album multiple times. I’ve never seen Figure Eight perform live (although they’ve played alongside groups such as Such Gold, Light Years, Oso Oso, A Will Away and Save Face in the past), but if they ever tour near me again, I’m going to make every effort to attend.
I’d like to imagine that this group of guys would be incredible to see live. To this day, my favorite live performance is a tie between Just Friends and Mom Jeans. when they came to Asbury Lanes in New Jersey last November; the energy level was through the roof and the crowd’s response was eye-opening. Based on what I heard throughout Any Given Flower, I think Figure Eight has the potential to crack my top-five live performances if I ever have the opportunity to see them in person.
Figure Eight’s debut full-length LP will drop at the end of the month on May 31. While it will be available on the normal assortment of services, you can pre-order a digital copy on Figure Eight’s Bandcamp for $7 to directly support the group. You can also currently listen to the first three tracks – “Oyster Days”, “True Love” and “Any Given
Flower” – on your favorite streaming service.