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The Link: To Serve The Song Above All Else Maps & Atlases Move in a New Direction
It’s pretty common that bands known for technical ability will push the limits of their playing with each new release, but Chicago’s Maps & Atlases latest work strives to flex both creative muscles and the ones in their fingers.
“I don’t think we were ever heavy in any way,” said lead singer, guitarist and most-bearded member Dave Davison when talking about how the band used to share the stage with the post-hardcore group Russian Circles. The band’s early work bared the signs of math rock, but now Maps & Atlases more closely resemble a folk band.
Perch Patchwork came out last summer and was the band’s first full-length offering, filled with rich, subtle instrumentation and an increased focus on Davison’s voice. Being their debut LP, Maps & Atlases spent the time to make a cohesive piece of work that builds upon their technically proficient sound.
“It was a really fun and productive way to allow the songs to take shape,” said Davison about the more experimental process to songwriting the band took with this record.
“On previous work with Maps & Atlases we would spend a long time getting ideas together to play live, and then the recording process became mostly a way of documenting that live experience,” he said.
“It was the prospect of recording and letting whatever happened happen, like if something started seeming a certain way or going in a different direction, to just allow it to go that way was only possible through this type of recording. It was really exciting for everybody in the band. Jason made everyone excited to explore more.”
Jason Cupp produced Perch Patchwork, and a warm, complex sound was formed – one which draws influence from as many directions as genres in their hometown music scene. Cupp worked with Davison in 2009 for his solo work under the name Cast Spells, and after exploring these new approaches to writing brought the artfully arranged sound to a full band context. The result builds off the Cast Spells EP, with engaging, unorthodox percussion and melodic form catchy enough for a pop song.