Maps & Atlases

Perch Patchwork

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Maps & Atlases’ second EP, You and Me and the Mountain, found the band moving in a lighter direction than the mathematical frenzy of their first EP Trees, Swallows, Houses. Their first full-length sees them fully morphed into a sophisticated indie pop group. Perch Patchwork is a bold debut, filled with bombastic arrangements, twisting modal progressions, and percussive layers. The skill set is high, but it’s far less showy. Guitarists will still be enthralled by Dave Davidson's and Erin Elders' fingertapping, but acoustics take precedent, and moderately slow tempos maintain the album's balladic feel. If Trees, Swallows, Houses felt like a cousin to Don Cab or Hella, their first Barsuk outing has adapted the organic spirit of their Northwestern labelmates (particularly that of Menomena, the Long Winters, and John Vanderslice.) Of course, with Maps & Atlases' virtuosic chops and syncopated leanings, they kind of resemble BLK JKS or Minus the Bear, albeit with a Jethro Tull influence. Trendy South African rhythms and austere strings spin a web around Davidson’s poetic lyrics, and in this intricate, introspective setting, their talent becomes very clear.

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