Maps Of Suburbia Tells a Story
Maps Of Suburbia is the lovely creation of four individuals who strive to create a nostalgic musical journey. This six track EP blends elements of alternative country, surf rock, and folk with indie rock to create something that is hard to define but easy to enjoy.
The EP has many interesting pieces, like a musical puzzle. These four people have created something wonderful and each member deserves mention here. Starting with Nick Perlman providing the lead vocals and guitar, a moody and haunting vocal range provides an extra punch to the already intense lyrics. The vocals are provided by each member of the band, being led by Nick but supported by all. Andy Porta provides the back beat here on drums, guitar and mixing board as well to take this from standard indie effort into something more unique. Seth Nicholson provides the bass lines that while subtle, never fail to keep the songs flowing and add another vital piece to the picture. Rounding out the four piece is Danny Flinn on the bodhrán (a drum used in traditional Irish music) to give this band yet another piece to set them apart from what other bands are doing.
The first thing you’ll hear is a melancholic plucking of guitar strings, to ease you into the vibe that “Highway One” will give you. Immediately apparent is the love that went into every aspect of this song. The production is as perfect as can be, the sound is smooth and the instruments all blend together so well it is hard to tell where one ends and another begins. The highlight for me is the lyrics, which are well written with beautiful imagery. They are a prime example of modern alt-folk. The quality does not stop with “You Always Knew.” Continuing not only to provide us with something pleasant to listen to, the song offers a story to follow along with as well. Painting a picture of someone young and naive, the lyrics tell the story of realizing “I was just obsessed with the idea of you” rather than actually being in love. The instrumentation here continues to be steady and well mixed, with every instrument shining without over shadowing the others.
The story continues with “Friends, Lovers, Etc.,” which looks back on love and wonders how significant it was for both people involved. The music continues to carry both a bit of upbeat carefree nostalgia with the sadness of looking back on something that may not have been as great as we first imagined. Following this is “The Lyric Went,” which is the lightest on lyrics but shows off the effort and passion that went into every aspect of this EP. The production quality does not falter here, as everything is well mixed and blended perfectly.
The second to last track is my personal favourite, titled “Every Ghost.” This song focuses on emptiness, and while that sounds incredibly sad, the song is a beautiful piece of music. The lyrics are complimented by the guitar work, creating perhaps the most traditional folk piece on the EP. Ending the album is “Route Nine,” a moody yet hopeful piece of music in the atmosphere. The blending of the vocals here is particularly well done, being carried by excellent percussion and subtle guitar work. This song may be the last on the EP but it certainly deserves as much attention as the rest as the quality and passion are still present.
Maps Of Suburbia is a showing of not only instrumental talent, but impressive lyrics that tell a story with each track. This EP is a definite piece to check out for fans of modern folk music mixed with indie style. Do not shy away from this one, this band is going places and if this first effort is any indication then we have so much more to hear from them.