For Fans Of
Is alternative rock coming back? Did it ever leave? Or has it always just sort of been there, popping its head up ever now and then? This question is posed because there has been a few bands of late that are throwing back to the early 00’s when emotional rock ruled the world and to these bands credit, they are giving it a modern day spin, which almost makes it something….a new thing.
Maps For Travelers fit into this quite well, perhaps with a little more grit, certainly some heavier "screamo" sections (that could probably be let go of), which make the band seem like they are yet to define their sound on ‘Change Your Name,’ but there are plenty of moments worth paying attention to.
These guys understand their guitar tones and give plenty of homage to the Far/Deftones drone-like sound with bone crushing distortions that vary from crisp to sludgy. Opening track ‘Good Life’ is driven by these guitars with the vocals pushed and cutting through. The heavier moments of the record, such as the guttural ‘Get A New Face’ don’t suit the band as much as their straight forward rock elements. This results in the album feeling a little disjointed, almost as if the scream sections have been placed in due to expectation rather than necessity.
This fence sitting needs to be squashed and a clear direction chosen, but this will no doubt come with time. The dynamics are intact, like atmospheric changes, which shift to walls of sound, namely at the end of ‘Figures In White’. This also exhibits the vocal abilities of front man Zach Brotherton, who can switch to a sweet falsetto at any moment.
Thematically the album focuses inward, on the writer’s view of his relationships and the personal effects/tolls they take. It is easy to see some aggression being expelled along with the angry riffs, but melody is never completely ignored. Finding this balance, along with the song’s genre changes are all a challenge this band will need to face very soon.
For a debut, the areas in which this record fall down can be forgiven, the important thing is Maps For Travelers ability to make their alternate rock styling’s exciting and relevant. With a little more self-discovery and refinement a classic, flawless record could on its way.
1. Good Life
2. Your Life On Repeat
3. Matter of Time
4. Get a new face
6. World on a wire
8. Figures in white
9. All Your Friends
10. They’re learning fast