Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones


(LP - Dangerbird Records #120)

Review by Matt Collar

For the entire duration of Maritime's fifth full-length album, 2015's Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones, you are sure to be held in the anthemic swell of the Milwaukee band's emotional, melodic sway. Each track on Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones is a tiny epic, rife with dichotomous emotions that, as the dual title implies, feel trapped halfway between falling in love and feeling your heart break. Musically, singer/guitarist Davey von Bohlen, lead guitarist Dan Hinz, bassist Justin Klug, and drummer Dan Didier craft the kind of psychically incisive indie rock that somehow makes you imagine love and loss as dealing directly with travels at sea, constellations, and cross-country road trips. Songs like "Roaming Empire" and "War Tattoos" are driving and anthemic despite their cutting moodiness, built solidly around Hinz's crisp, arpeggiated guitar and delicate synthesizers. As with 2011's Human Hearts, Maritime sound inspired as ever by the emotive synths of the Cure, particularly on the ersatz rockabilly intro to "Satellite Love," reminiscent of the Cure's "Close to Me." Many songs here also point to the sparkling '60s-style folk-rock of bands like Teenage Fanclub. Similarly, while the hip-swaying "Love You in the Dark" is built around a ringing Byrds-ian guitar riff, the chorus is as passionate and romantically exuberant as anything von Bohlen did in his emo days with his first band, the Promise Ring. Notably, the recording sessions for Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones came on the heels of a reunion of the Promise Ring. And while Maritime is its own entity, cuts like driving of "Light You Up" and the sanguine "Drinking Peru" retain a youthful punk energy, albeit one filtered through the prism of a decade's worth of musicianship and hard-won maturity.