Maps For Travelers - Change Your Name (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Maps For Travelers

Change Your Name (2013)

No Sleep Records

Winding down 2013, there's that rush to ingest what you may have missed. There'll always be a few records that you're thankful you just managed to catch in this crazy haze. Change Your Name should be one of them. Maps For Travelers definitely fly under the radar but if you're able to get your hands on this record, it's one of those non-flashy and earnest mash-ups of post-hardcore and a multitude of other rock influences that hit just the right spots.

"Matter Of Time" is what caught my eye initially, as it reminded me of Sparta with its driving guitars and melodic tone. Zach Brotherton (vocals, guitar) and RL Brooks (vocals, guitar) forge a very appealing dynamic up front. What's also noteworthy is the switching of tones, with layers of hardcore, screamo and many other diverse sounds embedded. It really shows the variety and versatility of the band.

"Life On Repeat" is tantalyzing as it speaks on the dismal shifts in life, but Maps For Travelers thread the needle with a vast array of sounds that don't bog down the record's themes too much. Where there's a song of depression, it doesn't sound flat or mundane. Where there's a track that's more uplifting, it isn't too cheesy. The band strike the right balance and those mixed vocals lend quite a bit to it. The varied sounds are consistent with the flexibility of their older material, such as Regress/Progress; that hardcore vibe on "Get A New Face" scrapes at you in such a good way, you're tempted to get stuck into their older stuff.

While the end of Change Your Name stretches out a bit too much, you're not going to be left worse for the wear or stretched too thin as a listener. "All Your Friends" ramps things back up with grunge-like balladry that packs a gut-wrenching swoon to it before "They're Learning Fast" shocks with a perfect indie twist a la Sigur Ros or Arcade Fire. Brooks' trumpets shine prominently here and if you recognize them in snippets in earlier tracks, you'll see just why Change Your Name should garner attention. It's well-rounded and has something for all rock lovers.