Album Review

The Map Room

The Map Room

by The Map Room


8.5 / 10
22nd August 2013

Reviewed by Hayden Pyke


It is hard to believe that the electro-pop mechanics of Brendon Morrow and Simon Gooding, aka The Map Room, began through acoustic guitars bought in Buenos Aires. The pair, both audio engineers, embarked on a South American jaunt that fueled a creative spark that has become The Map Room’s debut album. It is an album that conjures images of a serene and delightful journey underscored by a very distinct New Zealand sound.

Opening track ‘All You’ll Ever Find’, driven by decisive drumming and highlighted by soft electric guitars, shapes the image of songs to come with its drifting vocals. ‘Pilot’ follows and is one of the real stand out tracks on the album. With swirling around synth based hooks and harmonising choruses, it is luxurious without being fancy, slow without being sleepy and joyful without being schmaltzy. The song demonstrates the wonderful balance the pair have orchestrated which, coupled with superb production, makes this album such a gem.

‘Lay Down Here’ provides another take on The Map Room’s quirky pop sound. It is charging in its rhythm, spiking around drum fills and then falling through verses before expanding again in repetitive and singsong choruses. With this song it is clearer where the South American trip comes into play with lyrics suggesting tiredness on long treks but also comradery.

There are moves in and out lethargy too that point towards travelling across a whole continent. The tense and accusatory ‘Stick Around’ and the wistful and hallow sounds intermixed on ‘Memory’ construct images of laying down a backpack or guitar for the night; an attempt at restful sleep. The vocals hint at these feelings and images by respectfully rising and falling around the pair’s sharp instrumentals.

An impressive debut offering, the album strides confidently between the sounds of local heroes like SJD and Don McGlashen, while big droplets of South America drip through so that fans of Fito Paez will not be disappointed.


Pilot
Pilot, by The Map Room
(2013)
http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/review/847/The-Map-Room.utr




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