Danish indie rock outfit Figurines formed in the mid-'90s around childhood friends vocalist/guitarist Christian Hjelm, bassist Andreas Toft, and guitarist/vocalist Claus Salling Johansen. The guys began practicing at a local school and initially all three played guitar until Toft took up bass and Johansen manned the drums. They began playing gigs around their hometown of Aalborg, and in the fall of 2001 Figurines recorded the five-song EP The Detour. Finished up over the course of one weekend, the EP sold out quickly and the trio soon signed to Denmark indie Morningside Records. By the year's end, drummer Kristian Volden (aka Volle) had joined the group and Johansen moved back to playing guitar. Boasting a lo-fi sound with elements of bands like Modest Mouse, Pavement, and Built to Spill turning up, the quartet began recording its debut, Shake a Mountain, in December 2002. Completed on weekends between school (both college and high school) and work commitments, the record was released in April 2003 to rave reviews in Denmark.
Figurines toured all over the country that year, including a slot at the Roskilde Festival; meanwhile, the album produced the hit single "Bright," which topped the Danish alternative charts by late summer. By spring 2004 Shake a Mountain had hit shelves in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Their follow-up effort, Skeleton, was issued in April 2005, producing two more successful singles at home, "The Wonder" and "Silver Ponds." The band toured Europe throughout spring and fall 2005, and upon hooking up with the Control Group, saw the North American release of Skeleton in 2006. Possessing new cover artwork, the album appeared in Canada that January and the U.S. in April. Figurines continued touring in Europe, Canada, and the United States, including a stop at the year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. A fifth member, Mads Kjærgaard (synth, guitar, vocals) would eventually join the group as well. The self-titled Figurines appeared in 2011, featuring the single "Hanging from Above." ~ Corey Apar