It’s not often these days that an album comes along that I instantly love and ends up on repeat for days on end. I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of The Map Room until a mate was plugging it on FB – and I’m glad he did! They’re a fantastic kiwi band (who’re great fellas too) and I hope everyone takes some time to have a listen to their new album: Weatherless.
There’s the old cliche that bands struggle with their sophomore effort and that’s for good reason. Generally artists have years writing; waiting to be ‘discovered’ and it lends time to constantly refine and discard songs. When you have some (or a lot of) success with a debut, there’s always pressure to follow up and not only deliver, but step up from your initial effort.
Weatherless for me does exactly that. I’m enjoying their self-titled debut, but it feels like whereas they were discovering their identity through that record (which probably reflects their travels through South America), but that they’ve very much found it and are revelling in it on Weatherless. Effortless vocals, blend with a positive melancholy and mix with a soaring crescendo reminiscent of Sigur Ros or Bloc Party’s SRXT on ‘Any Other’. (The track that Noel Gallagher said made him ‘get’ Bloc Party.)
There are countless favourites already, but if you’re only going to start with one track to see if you’ll like the album then go for ‘Hold Me up to the Sun’. The band are comprised of Simon Gooding and Brendan Morrow who’re both talented sound engineers in their own right – which explains the interesting and successful experimentations. There’s a great delay effect (recorded on I don’t know what) that carries the beat initially with a catchy piano hook that continues through the track. When the drums kick in on the halfway mark, it lifts a level again and is such an enjoyable listen.
I really don’t have a track I dislike on this album, but to pick out one or two other highlights I’d include: ‘Knew from the Start’, ‘Colour’ and ‘Here Right Now’. ‘Any Other’ as mentioned earlier is the last track on the album and has a suitably epic ending complete with time shift and big delayed guitars (big fan of those…). It’s a satisfying conclusion to this chapter of The Map Room’s journey.
The album artwork couldn’t describe the music more perfectly. Crafted by UK based artist Matthew Cooper (Franz Ferdinand, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Artic Monkeys & more): it’s intriguing, vibrant and captures your attention. I can’t wait to see these guys live and good luck to them – it’s a fantastic album that I hope gets the praise and ears it deserves.