Michigan based four-piece Maps & Atlases has been around since releasing their first EP in 2006, but just last month finally released their first full length.  I fell in love with this album immediately.  Lead singer Dave Davison has one of the best voices I’ve heard in a long time, and this band writes great songs.  Wikipedia describes their genre as math rock. What a shitty genre.  What it should say is lush, rhythmic indie rock with a tribal heartbeat.  Not sure my made up genre is any better looking back at it now, this is really one of those records you just need to listen to. I’ve also seen comparisons to Animal Collective, I don’t agree with that at all either.  If anything at times I hear elements of Phish (see track Pigeon) and Rusted Root.

Davison’s vocals are insanely dynamic.  Most singers really shine either in the upper or lower register, not so with Davison.  Every note keeps the listeners attention, whether a low vibrato or a peaking high note.  I kind of hear a touch of the main vocal characteristic along the lines of the lead singer from Big Head Todd.  Not sure if a comparison like this is allowed amongst indie music fans but that’s what it most reminds me of in timbre.  The music mixes traditional indie sounds like acoustic and electric guitars, tom heavy drums, and combines them with all kinds of non-traditional rhythmic instruments, Beatles-esque Mellotrons, and backing harmonies.  I found this cool video of Davison solo playing his guitar like drums, and slapping frets to play harmonics, then using the tuner knobs to create a slide guitar effect.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXYWu99MDcg

Looking forward to trying to catch these guys when they come to Boston at the Middle East on August 11.  I’ve really been enjoying this record and it’s already been my accompanying soundtrack on a few summer trips, and the track Living Decorations has become one of my favorites of the first half of the year.

Maps & Atlases – Living Decorations

Maps & Atlases – Pigeon

Download Perch Patchwork here

Maps & Atlases online