Maps & Atlases – Perch Patchwork
Listen to this album on spotify while reading the review.
The skinny : Hit and miss.
The review proper : Arguably, more hit than miss. An acquired taste of an album, probably.
As a little intro/excuse, I’d like to point I knew nothing about the “buzz” following this band from Chicago. But reading some of the musings done by fellow bloggers and more experienced (and better prepared) reviewers, I’m afraid I’ll disagree with some of the platitudes the Perch Patchwork has been receiving.
I want to make something clear: as musicians, I can’t find any fault with Maps & Atlases. I do respect the band for doing some really strange stuff. They do know how to dance around strange time signatures and they got a jazzy sound that works well (‘The charm’ – check that unforgiving drumming!) or grates (‘Will’ and some of the instrumental segues peppered throughout).
As much as I want to be negative about several weak tracks the album has on the second half of the album, there are some pretty amazing tracks that show the potential that Maps & Atlases has in them. The mental drumming in ‘The Charm’ elevates the song to the rarified atmosphere of “choice cut”. ‘The Charm’ is also where Dave Davison’s vocals (another acquired taste – I do like his voice, though) really fit and shine through and far.
Tracks that are real keepers would be ‘The Charm’, ‘Israeli caves’, ‘Living decorations’ (that playful bit in the song is magic) and ‘Solid ground’. The rest of the album is not bad, it just lacks that extra kick that made these three songs great. Tracks that are best left unmentioned failed to grab me but perhaps they are more of a grower sort of song. Time will tell.
By no means is this a bad album, it just feels like some songs got overworked whereas some feel a little rough. Cracking cover artwork, though. And there’s some great songs (‘Solid ground’ and ‘The Charm’, definitely) that work the strenghts this band clearly has.
About the author: What a great drummer is Chris Hainey!