Maps & Atlases – ‘Beware and be Grateful’ reviewed
Forgive me. I really ought to have cottoned on to ‘Beware and be Grateful‘, the sophomore full-length by Maps & Atlases, sooner.
The Chicago four-piece have been doing the rounds since 2006, after all. Appearances at SXSW, a highly rated previous album and various tours with prominent acts including Foals, Minus the Bear and So Many Dynamos plus a great interview on these pages ought to have alerted me to their brilliance.
Fear not. I have seen the light.
Despite being both current and timeless, it is hard to put a finger on exactly what genre ‘Beware and Be Grateful‘ fits into. That is exactly why it is such an excellent record – experimental, accessible and majestically paced.
This album veers from effortless pop bliss – see track two, “Fever” – to angular rock perfection on Winter and, a little later, onto the quasi Billy Idol-esque “Vampires“. And there’s plenty more to sink your fangs into.
Opener “Old & Grey” draws you into the album patiently, maturely and incredibly melodically. There’s even room for an old school slowy – in a good way – on “Remote & Dark Years“.
This one has ‘album of the year‘ written all over it.