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Maps and Atlases - Perch Patchwork

  by Tara McEvoy

published: 13 / 11 / 2010

Maps and Atlases - Perch Patchwork
Label: Fat Cat Records
Format: CD


Astounding merging of pop, folk, indie and math rock on remarkable debut album from experimental Chicago-based group, Maps and Atlases

Say hello to your favourite new band – Chicago’s Maps and Atlases. Hard to pin down as they are, the four piece straddle the genres of pop, folk and indie, even throwing in the occasional nod to math rock, and tackle each with considerable aplomb, simultaneously wearing their influences on their sleeve and managing to sound distinctly different to anything you’ve heard before. Better still, not only are they a proper band, they’ve only gone and recorded a proper album – 'Perch Patchwork' isn’t something you’ll want to bung on shuffle; this is an example of an increasingly rare phenomenon, a record replete with intros, outros, that tells a story, that takes a journey, that deserves to be listened to in full for it to exert its full power. Added to the fact that they’ve taken a turn á la Animal Collective, and produced an eclectic work which is decidedly more accessible than previous releases, they’re on to a sure fire winner. The opening, instrumental ‘Will’ brings to mind the experimentation of those other much lauded experimentalists, Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors, and even the typically charming opening line of following ‘The Charm’ ("I don’t think that there is a sound I hate more than the sound of your voice") isn’t enough to make you fall out of love with the band. ‘Pigeon’ is a particular highlight, with its Talking Heads-esque approach to instrumentation – the song is a gently unfolding, slowly building marvel, calling to mind Oxford boys Stornoway, incorporating a brass section, and even a bit of afrobeat, all centred around an insanely catchy intrinsic riff, inclusive of an international flavour without ever feeling like a homage to world music. ‘Was’ sees the band venture off the beaten track into what begins by sounding like a ballad – but wait! It takes a turn for the better, and before you know it, you’re onto the final song, the folksy ‘Perch Patchwork’, which sounds like Brighton’s Moulettes having a jam with Grizzly Bear (If you’re in any doubt, that is most definitely a good thing). The album draws to a close on that remarkable track final, a track which signifies the album as an astounding work that weaves together the best of contemporary music, yet which bears the band’s distinctive stamp - a masterpiece of competent, clean, pop music for the 21st century.

Track Listing:-
1 Will
2 The Charm
3 Living Decorations
4 Solid Ground
5 Is
6 Israeli Caves
7 Banished Be Cavalier
8 Carrying The Wet Wood
9 Pigeon
10 If This Is
11 Was
12 Perch Patchwork

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