Beware And Be Grateful
bark125 · CD / DIGITAL · Barsuk Records · April 2012
In a musical landscape pitted with pop stars and pigeonholes, Maps & Atlases defy easy categorization, choosing to walk their own incomparable path. Beware and Be Grateful builds upon the Chicago-based band's acclaimed Barsuk debut, Perch Patchwork, melding their trademark experimentalism with a more direct though no less beguiling songcraft. The new album abounds with invention, spanning hymnal harmonies, percolating rhythms, even, in the case of centerpiece track "Silver Self", a full-on guitar solo. Songs like "Remote and Dark Years" and "Winter" are gloriously liquid and lyrical, channeling M&A's maximalist creativity into a truly inviting brand of boundary-busting, asymmetrical pop.