Memory Map

The Sky as Well as Space

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    8
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Bloomington, Indiana's Memory Map follow their shade grungier, lo-fi debut, Holiday Band, with cleaner production and performances on 2014's spirited The Sky as Well as Space. Already exhibiting a pretty intense flair for rhythm from bottom to top on their debut, they manage to kick it up a notch here while maintaining a laid-back punk, Weezer-like vibe courtesy of Mike Dixon's matter-of-fact vocal delivery and sweet, straightforward backing vocal harmonies. Rhythmically, the hyperactive, garagey, gear-shifting drumming of Josh Morrow and intricate guitar work by all three guitarists, usually simultaneously, is both nerdy and punky at the same time, which is thus far a defining quality of this band; they're good and they're loose. "The Celebrated Summer" demonstrates all of this right from the get-go with hooky, melodic group singing over meshed guitar noodling and those deft drums. Clever, melodic guitar solos with lots of space and syncopation keep things poppy without truly being simple. All of the parts, including vocals, are busy and keep the listener off-balance when trying to anticipate anything in detail -- a song like "Hunger Poem" has odd and shifting meters, plus a weird keyboard-drums coda -- while managing to stay catchy and easy-sounding on the whole. They're deceptively complex. Strings and keys make appearances on some tracks, too, though the effect never strays from indie guitar pop. The momentum maintained by all of the instrument work, driving and full of notes with little to no respite until the final (sparse, acoustic) track, may exhaust some listeners before making it through all 12 tunes. For those who are into the activity level, though, The Sky as Well as Space is a stimulating and genial spin and a can't-miss for advanced, small-kit air drummers.

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