Maps & Atlases became one of my new favorite bands in 2010, when their full-length debut Perch Patchwork floored me with its blend of intricate virtuosity and accessible pop songcraft. So I’ve been awaiting new music from this band the way comics geeks have been awaiting The Dark Knight Rises. “Winter” is the first single from Maps & Atlases’ forthcoming album Beware And Be Grateful, and to me, it feels like a nice teaser more than an exciting trailer. It’s got me a bit more hyped to hear the new LP, though I can’t help but hope they’re just saving the real fireworks for later.
Singer Dave Davison’s vocals and melodies aren’t quite as soulful or venturesome as most of the ones I fell for on Perch Patchwork, but I’m OK with that. They’re catchy enough to keep me humming along, and besides, the instruments pick up more than enough slack here. Bassist Shiraz Dada and drummer Chris Hainey are as springy, propulsive, and lockstep-tight as they’ve ever been, while Erin Elders’ guitars fill in the blanks with plenty of squiggly hooks. If “Winter” proves to be one of the stronger tracks on Beware And Be Grateful, it should still be a solid and satisfying album. But I’m crossing my fingers that “Winter” is merely a hint of what’s to come, and that it turns out Maps & Atlases have pushed themselves to greater heights yet again.