Maps of Norway

Post-Punk, Post-Rock, Post-Post-Punk, what post are we at now? Is it still after the last thing or is before the next one yet? Is that bass line retro-ironic or proto-serious? I cant even tell anymore. Maps of Norway made their live debut in early 2004 in St. Paul, MN. Formed by drummer Jeff Ball and guitarist Eric Hanson, both previous of Vespertine and bass player Matt Helgeson, late of Unbelievable Jolly Machine, the group was not completed until the addition of vocalist Rebecca Leigh. The band quickly moved beyond early influences, Blonde Redhead, Joy Division, and Fugazi to develop their own distinctive, moody voice. What I mean is Maps of Norway are not merely a simple retread of styles from early 80s UK, this isnt just something you can slip easily in your
collection to be enjoyed leisurely; you need to come to this recording on its own terms. The rhythm section, which was obviously fed huge portions of rock dynamics as children, uses Helgesons rubbery bass and Balls whip-snap drums to carve out a large space of sound for Hansons atmospheric guitar lines which sketch out melodies and other coded bits of information. Rebecca Leigh brings actual singing (maybe thats even crooning) and a distinctive stage presence to the
band. Oh hey, they play all this stuff live too, in case there were worries that this was a studio thing or the band were such delicate flowers that might wilt under the harsh stage lights. Out here in the middle west, we require that our gloomy rock still has to rock.  - Chris Besinger


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