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Perch Patchwork

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 29, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Abraham Lincoln once said, ''I'm a slow walker, but I never walk back.'' The same holds true for fellow sons of the Prairie State, Maps & Atlases, who, despite a flurry of activity since their inception in 2006, are only now releasing their full-length debut. But it's been worth the wait: not only is Perch Patchwork the Chicago quartet's first long player, it's also their first masterpiece--a beautiful suite of songs that should rightly place the band in indie rock's upper echelon.
The band's previous two EPs employed an arid, live sound, setting up Perch Patchwork to deliver a lush contrast of strings, horns, assorted percussion, and a variety of toy instruments, all placed just-so on some spot-on songwriting. In a world cluttered with digital ephemera, an album that flows from beginning to end with such deliberate grace is all the more specialâ ¦ not to mention a perfect soundtrack for the hissing of summer lawns.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 29, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Barsuk
  • ASIN: B003LWLGDE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,791 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Maps & Atlases Store

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard some of these songs on my daughter's mp3 playlist, and thought,
"Hey, there is actually some good songwriting and musicianship going on here!".
Some artists who I am reminded of while listening include Steve Reich (the almost minimalist
sounding "Perch Patchwork", The Band (this band rocks, but their spirit seems folksy and down to earth),
Paul Simon (some of the clever lyrics), and King Sunny Ade
(for the complex nonlinear rhythms that permeate throughout the music).
I also hear elements of Jewish and Spanish folk music.
My daughter calls them an "Indie band", and I suppose that seems appropriate, given how their sound
seems to lack better categorization, which is something I'm always looking for in a band.
Some of the best bands (the Butthole Surfers, Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, and Nirvana come to mind) get overlooked
because their sound defies category.

Anyways, listening prompted me to buy this recording, which for me seems a rarity, given that most of what
I buy is in the classical/jazz/world-music vein. The recording seems a bit short (about 38 minutes), but
what did get recorded sounds fresh and worth many listens.

Maps and Atlases seems to have a unique and interesting voice within the realm of rock music. And I've always
wondered why so few bands actually succeed at this, when rock is supposed to be synonymous with rebellion and
change. Instead, it seems 95% imitation, with M&A falling in that rare 5%. One obvious reason in this case is
that Maps and Atlases has much talent, and have learned well the crafts of songwriting and playing their
instruments.

In the age of free and/or 99 cent downloads, I still prefer to spend more on a cd and fully support a
deserving band or artist.
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Format: MP3 Music
"Perch Patchwork" is Chicago's Maps & Atlases first full length LP and it doesn't disappoint. The main appeal of this album is in its uniqueness. Anyone familiar with Maps & Atlases previous EPs knows that their music is mathy; it is riddled with nimble guitar-tapping melodies and complex rhythms. Part of the greatness of "Perch Patchwork" is that it retains a lot of this amazing technicality, while being very accessible and organic feeling. They lyrical content of the album is a beast of its own, and I cannot do them justice in a review because they speak for themselves.

Not only does the album flow well (i.e. Will/The Charm/Living Decorations), but it examines certain musical themes that can be heard throughout the album. "Perch Patchwork" ebbs and flows. It swells so naturally, perhaps the greatest example being the beautiful title track, that the album becomes almost addicting to listen to. Granted, it took me a few listens before "Perch Patchwork" revealed all of its glory to me, but it gets better with every listen.

Buy this album to experience some of the most interesting, and crazy, folk inspired mathy indie rock out there. But even this genre label doesn't define their music--the best way to find out is to listen! I highly recommend listening to the song "Pigeon" to get an idea of what Maps & Atlases is all about. However, listening to any other song will do. They are all phenomenal.

Lastly I have to note that these guys have incredible live shows. They have an almost uncanny level of precision and great energy live. Maps & Atlases is truly talented and onto something special. I don't think they're going to stop making music anytime soon...I can safely say this is my favorite album of 2010, and still is at the close of 2011.
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Format: MP3 Music
While Perch Patchwork is quite a departure from their first two EPs, Maps and Atlases have crafted a wonderful tapestry that, while not shying away from their earlier work, charts new territory with the introduction of different sonic elements, exhibiting maturation in musicianship and song writing that should please current fans while drawing interest from those who desire unique and interesting alternatives to what passes for independent voices these days.

This is, by far, my favorite album of 2010.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Unbridled individualism lies within each member of Maps and Atlases. With them combined, a synergistic effect of true passion and talent makes for some amazing music. As with most great albums, Perch Patchwork did not fully hit me until the 4th or 5th listen through, and when it did, it was pretty sweet, but also, pretty cool.
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