Having met in 2004 as art students at Chicago’s Columbia College, Maps & Atlases’ initial output (a 2006 EP titled Tree, Swallows, Houses) showcased their astute technical abilities and deft musicality, changing rhythms and tearing across guitar fretboards at breakneck speed. Their follow-up EP (2008’s You and Me and the Mountain), however, demonstrated a desire for a more organic - but no less eccentric - pop-orientated course that retains the mathematical precision of their first set of recordings, but allowed for more compositional virtuosity than instrumental. It is this path that has led them to debut full-length Perch Patchwork (released by FatCat in the UK and Europe in October 2010), a densely textured, exhilarating body of work that sees the band creating intricacies in songwriting, in lush brass and string arrangements rather than in lightning-fast guitar lines, resulting in a gorgeous, complex, slightly skewed take on pop music.
The band – Dave Davison (vocals, guitar), Shiraz Dada (bass), Chris Hainey (drums), and Erin Elders (guitar) – produce a sound comparable in places to the mature, graceful pop of Band of Horses or TV On The Radio combined with the excitement of Deerhoof or Vampire Weekend and the experimentation of CAN. That their live dates see them share stages with FatCat’s Frightened Rabbit and Our Brother The Native, as well as acclaimed experimental hardcore band mewithoutYou, and African legend Vieux Farka Toure demonstrates the broad-reaching depth of sounds that Maps & Atlases take in.
Maps & Atlases are signed to Barsuk Records in the US, who handled the North American release of Perch Patchwork, and to FatCat for the UK and Europe.
The band are in the process of starting work on their sophomore album, more information on this will be announced soon.