Album Review :
Maps - The Wick and the Fire

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Artist: Maps
Album: The Wick and the Fire
Label: None (released independently)
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Failure of Constancy
2. Ambuscade
3. The Words Will Grow
4. Breathing Water
5. Spread My Love
6. With a Knife
7. Reverse Telescope
8. The Alchemy of Economy
9. Party Hats & Attitude
10. Sandburg
11. My Desire to Be Napoleon
12. Synergy

With so many bands out there by the name of Maps, I wasn’t sure which this one was and came into it expecting to hear the one with the soft shoe-gazer indie sound with the girl singer, but apparently I was wrong. This Maps is actually the experimental instrumental alternative rock machine. And for being the Maps that lead in that direction, I must say they definitely do their job of showing me how to get to their destination.

I’m gonna be honest. If you take the basic emo/indie/punk/alternative rock sound (the edgier side, a la Taking Back Sunday, Rise Against, Modest Mouse, etc) and strip it of the vocals, you’ve taken away a major component and the music is going to be a lot less exciting and a lot less moving. But somehow Maps pulls it off. These jams will get you excited and they will move you. The energy in the rocking tracks like “Ambuscade” is enough to get your head bobbing with or without a singer. Perhaps this is because there are enough guitars playing that one of them can function in the lead role the vocals play in other bands, even in addition to the regular lead guitar. And if that sounds like way too much guitar for you, don’t worry. The melodic and intricately weaved guitar lines of “The Words Will Grow” prove that this isn’t just a mess of instruments thrown together. Each part has a purpose, and each one works with, not on top of, the others.

8/10

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