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FIGURES (Buy CDs by this artist)
In a Chalk Circle (Twin/Tone) 1985
The Gateway (Twin/Tone) 1986
JEFF WARYAN
Figures (Twin/Tone) 1983

Minneapolis guitarist/singer Waryan led the late-'70s Fingerprints (not Fingerprintz) and also played in Curtiss A's band. His 1983 solo album is filled with well-crafted melodic songs and snazzy fretwork; his serviceable vocals are less impressive. Alternating abundant energy and moments of delicacy, Figures is unremarkable but easy to like.

Two years later, fronting a quartet named after his first album, Waryan released In a Chalk Circle, a powerful, more mature rock record contrasting restrained acoustic/electric guitar with a murky bass sound. The lineup includes drummer Jay Peck (a one-time member of Let's Active) and ex-Fingerprints bassist Steve Fjelstad, better known for his local work as a producer and engineer. An expressive mid-American band with strong songs and a strikingly overcast pop feel, Figures plays its own brand of rootsy folk-pop. Worth hearing.

Anton Fier produced The Gateway, organizing Figures' sound into a clear and brisk (although drums are slightly too prominent) vehicle for Waryan's heartfelt songs. Tasteful rock underpinnings and sharp lead solos offset the ringing acoustic guitars and doubled harmony vocals, making songs like "Words Unsaid," "In the House of Welcomes" and a folky rendition of Lowell George's "Easy to Slip" highlights of an altogether agreeable record.

[Ira Robbins]