Maps and Atlases’ “Perch Patchwork”

“While major praise has been drawn by their technical guitar work, I think what is more impressive is …” (Read More!)

Lindsey Whitefield

8
out of 10


Perch Patchwork
June 29, 2010

If Chicago-based Maps & Atlases’ “Perch Patchwork” is progressive math rock then it is among the most approachable and least irritatingly pretentious of the genre. In fact I’m not even sure that it isn’t simply more interesting than average indie rock–and it is certainly more interesting than average. A friend of mine thought they were TV On The Radio while hearing them playing from my iPod; I initially characterized the music as Sufjan Stevens-esque in its thick, symphonic quality. Maps & Atlases’ sound then is something of both, and also not so easily described as a mash-up of more recognizable sounds.

Criticism of the album has cited the abrupt end to the instrumental interludes peppered between tracks and I have to agree with this critique. For example, the track “Is” sounds like it could have been the intro to my favorite song on the
record…if only it were more than that. Instead these compositions exist slightly off-datum as underdeveloped seedlings to the whole.

My favorite tracks were “Solid Ground,” “Israeli Caves,” and the album’s title track “Perch Patchwork.” While major praise has been drawn by their technical guitar work, I think what is more impressive is each band member’s ability to contribute their instrument (including Dave Davison’s vocals) in a way that engages the whole, as if every chord, every beat of percussion, each syllable of lyrics was placed precisely in its moment in time by masterful hands.

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