Tuesday, September 30, 2008

fig. 4 (Tobin Sprout) s/t ep (1984, QCA)

When the world became acquainted with Guided By Voices, circa their 1994 magnum opus Bee Thousand, the name Tobin Spout was suddenly on every self-respecting hipster's lips. The McCartney to Robert Pollard's Lennon, Tobin graced GBV's repertoire for about five or six albums as a key collaborator and songwriter, and while many followed his solo career upon his departure from the band, only die-hards excavators are familiar with his music prior to his guildsmanship in Dayton, OH's finest. Fig. 4 was the name of the obscure band he fronted during the mid-80s, a slightly oblique, REM-ish college rock trio, that also included bassist Dan Toohey, another future GBV alumni. Fig 4's main body of work was a self-titled album issued in 1987, and later reissued on CD ten years later, right smack in the midst of Sprout's/Pollard's collective heyday.

Although the reissue tacked on a number of solo Tobin selections, it missed the self-titled fig. 4 7" ep that preceded the album. Released in 1984 on the local QCA label, in what must have been an extremely limited pressing, the four-song ep isn't particularly revelatory, but it's scarceness will no doubt be of interest to those anguishing for every nook and cranny. Though almost as developed as the impending album, this ep leaves less of an impression, but ideally it should have appeared on the reissue. Nevertheless, enjoy it here and now, a quarter of a century later.
01. Behind Her Eyes
02. Dirt and Dog
03. Thief
04. I Saw it There

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