Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Album review: Maps & Atlases - Beware and Be Grateful

In just two albums Chicago’s Maps & Atlases have experienced the kind of transformation few bands ever encounter. From the epileptic math rock squalls of their early recordings, the quartet pushed their frenetic guitar noodles out as more rounded arrangements on debut Perch Patchwork. Album number two, Beware & Be Grateful, finds the band edging closer towards more mainstream climes; building on their pop-sensibilities to create a consistently fascinating longplayer.

Much of the band’s presence lies with frontman Dave Davison, whose emotional purrs push the knotted melodies of Fever and Old Ash into gorgeous, shivering swells. Despite the trend towards more accessible blasts like Vampires, a sense of intricacy presents itself in the likes of Silver Sail and Bugs, which rattle to a labyrinth of time signatures and ebullient guitar noodles. With Beware & Be Grateful, M&A have created their most rewarding effort to date. Their transformation is almostcomplete.

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