Maps of Norway

Die Off Songbird

by Dan Raper

6 January 2009

 

Maps of Norway, a Minneapolis band, plays a kind of stringent New Wavey rock, big on drums-n-echo, but elevated by Rebecca Leigh’s warbling voice, pitched just right in the mix. Leigh sounds a bit like a peppy version of Blonde Redhead’s singer; her voice has a classically-trained precision. In their instrumentation, the group sounds like a slightly clumsy version of the Raveonette’s upbeat stomp. The extended instrumental tracks and interludes show a band willing to explore texture and timbre, though they end up with a surprisingly mainstream sound—“Strict Ritual”, the album’s 8-minute centerpiece, becomes a repetition of unremarkable beat. The instrumentation strays into a synth-driven sound on tracks like “The Light”, on which they’re a more relaxed Killers. At its best, the band seems to hint that guitars could be used as instruments of anthemic reach, but breaks them up either into short, clipped phrases or shards of distortion, before they can reach it. And throughout, the group’s saved from mediocrity by Leigh’s spooled-out and energetic voice. For once, a singer sounds happy to be behind the microphone.

Die Off Songbird

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article