Maps & Atlases, 'Perch Patchwork' (Barsuk)

7
Perch Patchwork
Critical Mass
Label: Barsuk

by Josh Modell

This Chicago band's skittish energy recalls Talking Heads and TV on the Radio, lightening any dark subject matter with twitchy bursts of color. Early EPs were lumped in with math and prog bands, but those impulses recede on this debut full-length: Clearly there's some showing off on "Carrying the Wet Wood," with intricately intertwined fretwork and drumming, but it's all in service of sing-alongs, tied together by Dave Davison's pinched, inimitable voice. When friendly flutes invade skewed pop ("Perch Patchwork") and a drum line becomes the primary instrument ("The Charm"), genre tags seem pretty inadequate.

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