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Maps & Atlases

Post Rock/Math rock

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Maps & Atlases You And Me And The Mountain album cover
3.71 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Witch
2. Artichokes
3. You And Me And The Mountain
4. Daily News
5. Ted Zancha

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Davison / guitar, vocals
- Shiraz Dada / bass
- Erin Elders / guitar
- Chris Hainey / drums

Releases information

Sargent House

Thanks to memowakeman for the addition
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MAPS & ATLASES You And Me And The Mountain ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(77%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAPS & ATLASES You And Me And The Mountain reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Moatilliatta
4 stars Maps & Atlases dazzled us with their ability to fuse the technical wizardry of Don Caballero with poppy melodies on their debut EP Tree, Swallows, Houses. Since then, record labels have dazzled us by not paying for a full-length from these guys. OK, I can't support that claim, but really, has that ever mattered to me? It's just as possible that the band only managed to write 5 great songs for their next release. Truly, I'm all about a band taking their time when it comes to writing songs, and should never feel obligated to write more material than they can at the expense of quality, but goodness, why isn't this band turning more heads around here (here being the world as a whole)? It's clear that the band is on a low budget: those who saw them on tour a year or so ago may have noticed their drummer's only crash cymbal falling apart on stage. The guy places that cymbal way too high and at an improper angle, and that's why it cracked, but that isn't the point: the band can't even replace that cymbal! Yes, that's another claim I can't completely support, but it seems like a logical inference, doesn't it?

Anyhow, Maps & Atlases has finally given us some more delicious, jolly music with You and Me and the Mountain. On this release, redundantly named frontman Dave Davison has eased up on the blistering riffage in order to give us even stronger melodies than before. I dare you not to sing along while you're listening - even the first time through you'll learn these melodies before the songs finish - and then sing or hum them later on that day. Don't think that the band is simplifying their stuff, though. While the technicality may not be as obvious here, there are more textures and layers on this one than on their debut. And what a fantastic use of woodblock throughout! They also haven't completely foregone the fretboard tap dancing; you'll hear it here, but much more subdued and supportive of the melody. I must say, that is exactly how they should have channeled that aspect of their music. There wasn't much more they could have done with the over-the-top speedy riffs. They did a great job with them before, but I think the band is now starting to develop a sound they can call their own. It's not so easy to pin down the sound on this one, and since it's even more catchy and accessible than their old sound, that can only be a good thing.

I can't to hear more from this band in the future. If you haven't checked these guys out, I recommend that you do so immediately. Warning: the vocals may sound a little strange, but I'll be darned if they don't spew the most infectious melodies a cerebral song can allow. While any of these five songs is a case in point, I find myself attracted to the title track and "Ted Zancha" the most. Advise for starters: just start! Check out anything! Go!

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dirty spit-in-your-face Mathrock this is not. Inventive absolutely, distinctive to be sure, but the Don Cab comparisons to this foursome are dubious. In fact M&A bear little resemblance to most number crunchers, exhibiting a far more developed and stylized palette that may vaguely remind of a vocal-oriented Tortoise (or even Steely Dan gone math geek). Guitarist/singer David Davison whines attractively above the carousel of ringing and clinking mazes carefully worked by the second guitar of Erin Elders, Shiraz Dada's bass and Chris Hainey's traps, and recalls - of all people - a young Peter Gabriel complete with lyrics full of daydream abstractions. It's a mix that works surprisingly well.

Strange and squeaky 'Witch' builds on an otherwise throwaway riff, turning into a rather neat mantra, the guitars providing little breaks and the band's subtle dynamics shifting here and there just enough to alter the effect. Just as odd is 'Artichokes' with Davison's semi-pop warbles contrasted by the crashing rhythm section. The title is in a slightly more familiar math vein and is outstanding, blending maze music with prog rock changes, while dreamy 'Daily News' develops well with melody and counterpoint, and the jerky shuffle of 'Ted Zancha' is a bit loony and seems to put us in the head of some disturbed individual.

A refreshing change of pace as mathrock goes with a gentler band that gives the style room to breathe. Very nice.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Melodic, Quirky, Dance-able, and Math!?

Maps and Atlases is a vocal math rock outfit that has put together two EPs of which _You and Me and the Mountain_ is the second. Five relatively short songs are all we get. But in fine math tradition, the band packs quite a bit in at once. Each piece has a distinct statement to make both lyrically and musically, and it takes quite a few listens to pull apart the tightly woven threads of this music. At the same time, it's amazing how pleasant it is to listen to even on the basic level.

Another remarkable thing about this band is how well the voice fits with the math style and yet is still melodic and hook-y. Singer Dave Davison's timbre is relatively high and firmly within the indie style, but often he has to be more rapid-fire and rhythmic to keep up with the band. Sometimes, the voice is just one more repeating, interweaving line along with the clean guitars, bells, multi-timbred bass, and drums varying from straightforward to chaotic. The lyrics are as carefully chosen as the compositions are arranged, but always with a sense of playfulness that belies just how hard this stuff must be to play.

My favorite songs are "Artichokes" and "You and Me and the Mountain," though all of the pieces are quite good. Part of me yearns for more than this short foray, but I also wonder if the band is quite ready to sustain the energy for an entire LP. The sound itself may not be quite ready for that. It's so busy that even 45 minutes could be an exhausting listening experience. As it is, I'm left wanting more, left repeating the disc to go dig for more nuggets of gold. The EP delivers in that regard, over and over.

I'm just now really starting to get into math rock, and this has been an excellent entry. For those who say there is nothing new in music, dive into this EP.

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