Maps and Atlases - You and Me and the Mountain (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Maps and Atlases

You and Me and the Mountain (2008)

Sargent House

Maps & Atlases are often relegated to the math-rock pool, but any band that dips their toes in this proverbial water usually gets a mention -- Minus the Bear, Tera Melos, etc. al. Maps & Atlases have barely the tip of the nail in there, and maybe that's why they're getting the tag.

But the band's 2008 EP, You and Me and the Mountain is better characterized by its jaunty, idiosyncratic flow, with a vocalist that oscillates between low-register Jake Snider hums and an otherworldly, higher pitch. Maybe the latter is why I'm so compelled to draw a Vampire Weekend comparison -- part of me really doesn't want to out of fear of seeming lazy (yeah, I know M&A have been around longer) and the other part can't deny the similarities present in the warm, organic production and purely pop take on perky, quirky rhythms. It's a comparison that easiest to understand with the catchy title track, but those overall traits, when mixed with the occasional noddle and guitar tapping, makes for a unique and pleasant hybrid despite the liveliness and imaginative animation.

"Daily News" follows, invoking a healthy jazz sense, calculated interplay that defies ideas of genre improvisation and with drums punching in and out of the background in lowly boomed proportions.

Despite all its weaves and nuances, You and Me and the Mountain doesn't hit me quite as hard as I'd expect it to, but it's a creative, enjoyable slab and I'm curious to see how they continue to expand on the sound.

You and Me and the Mountain