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Maps and Atlases outdo themselves with 'Beware and Be Grateful'

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 19:04

Maps & Atlases

Beware and Be Grateful

(Barsuk Records)

Grade: A

Chicago-based band Maps & Atlases have truly outdone themselves with their sophomore album, Beware and Be Grateful. It’s well produced and there are infinite layers and multiple vocal tracks, but they come through crystal clear and perfectly balanced.

Dave Davison’s voice is easy to fall head-over-heels for. It can kill a bear and build a log cabin. In fact, without knowing what singer Dave Davison actually looks like, I predicted he had an astonishing beard. I was correct. It’s a quality he shares with David Bazan and Sam Beam. They have robust, hairy voices and have the talent to back it up.

Gospel-like harmonies and whimsical beats blend perfectly and create unique and festive songs. Impressive guitar solos feel welcome for once, as each one has its own personality. Maps & Atlases sculpted daring songs that still have a light-hearted touch.

Beware and Be Grateful is fun ride with a huge opener (“Old & Gray”) and a romantic conclusion (“Important”).

“Old & Gray” is a love song that doesn’t beat around the bushes. “When you are old and gray, I hope that someone holds you the way that I would,” Davison sings.

“Important” is more of a kiss on the forehead and a goodbye. “It is very important for you to know what I was listening to/that I was thinking of you/When the curtain closes you'll find all you're looking for,” Davison sings.

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