Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

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Maps: So Low, So High
Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Some may find the constantly applied stage-whisper vocals here a little samey over the long haul, but for me it fits perfectly with the ambient, atmospheric-rock of Maps which swells to panoramic dimensions in places, or rides the most simple but effective of piano chords down to levels of utter intimacy.

Maps is in fact James Chapman from somewhere in the Midlands whose twilight-framed home recordings were drip-fed over the past couple of years on EPs which sold out before most people got to hear of him.

The Guardian said Chapman wrote "some of the sweetest, darkest, most heart-meltingly beautiful melodies you will ever hear" -- and most other reviewers agreed.

This is the Chapman/Maps debut album -- with Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurdsson (Bjork, Bonnie Prince Billie) -- and the expansive electronica (with guitars, strings and piano) on display is utterly embracing.

References might be along these lines: imagine Stones Roses at their most cinematic being teamed up with Brian Eno who takes them on an astral journey; or Explosions in the Sky at their most constrained; or Sigur Ros and Spiritualised writing for a documentary about intergalactic travel . . .

Climb aboard and take the trip. The view is superb.

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