Sound — 10
The debut album from Chicago Math Rock geniuses, Maps & Atlases. After two EPs of outrageous proportions, they finally deliver a full length that takes their level of musicianship to another level. Perch Patchwork has the sound of a solid 1970s Progressive band mixed with 1980s New Wave. Their first extended release, "Trees, Swallows, Houses" featured amazing guitar work along with athletic drumming. It was a pure energy fest full of tapping that would make Eddie Van Halen proud. But this album took on a more pop oriented sound that has potential to attract a large, mainstream audience, while still maintaining the rich Math Rock roots of complexity that set them apart from just about any other Indie band out.
Lyrics — 9
Singer/guitarist Dave Davison has a style of his own. His voice and singing style really compliment the fantastic music in an odd, non commercial way. The lyrics are smart and often quite catchy. Three of the tracks are instrumentals that are spaced out and give the feeling of little intermissions for the ears between great moments of grace and overall pleasantness.
Overall Impression — 10
Before this album came out, I was a little worried that they may take a drastic turn into commercial waters and that the music would suffer. Well, they did take a drastic turn that evolved the music and band and took them to greater heights. They toned down the explosive tapping, un-planned drumming and delivered short bursts of these great attributes throughout the album. They pulled it off so well that when I listen to the album, I still can't believe a band could change so much and be just as amazing and creative. Standout tracks would be: The Charm - a song that seems to be about the loathing and hatred of another person, while still sounding like a 1960s family sing along. Solid Ground - definitely the most accessible track that has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard the opening lines. Truly a great song. If This is - has the feeling of a mid 1960s British Invasion song, held together with a nice disco like drum beat. Probably my favorite song on the album. The instrumentals have great voice harmonies that go perfect with the soothing scales that are unleashed upon the ears. I greatly look forward to seeing them play this new material live.(I'm actually attending two Maps & Atlases shows tomorrow in Cincinnati, a free acoustic set in a local record store followed by a full set shortly after at a nearby venue.) If this were stolen/lost, I would be happy that the music would be reaching another person, and I'd be smiling as I went to pick up my new copy.