Archive for the ‘maps & atlases’ tag
The arc of Maps & Atlases’ musical evolution is something one can only describe as “drastic.” A series of initial EPs sounded like your average math rock band. That is to say: niche. Very good, to be sure. But listenable to a certain sub-section of a sub-section of music fan. Then came their first full-length album, Perch Patchwork, where the math-rock sound was tempered, though not extinguished, by the band’s newfound pop sensibilities.
Keeping that arc in mind, Beware and Be Grateful, the band’s newest release, paints a picture of where the band wants to end up. More Perch Patchwork than Trees, Swallows, Houses, Beware and Be Grateful goes even further, making the full-on push into pop territory. And while it’s often rewarding to watch a band grow, there’s always the danger of their straying too far in one direction, leaving behind much of what made them interesting to begin with.
Maps & Atlases occasionally dances on that line. Beware and Be Grateful finds the band injecting a stronger African influence into their work. Gone are the busy, Farquet-sounding time signatures; in 2012, Maps & Atlases just want you to have fun.
The results are mixed: The fist-pumping, upbeat “Vampires” sounds like it could be on the soundtrack to a 90s movie starring Kirstie Alley, as does the introspective pop of “Remote and Dark Years.” And some songs, like “Bug,” tread dangerously close to sounding like a Vampire Weekend cover band.