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Maps of Norway

Sister Stations

(Guilt Ridden Pop; US: 2006; UK: Unavailable)

I have never studied Norweigan maps, but when you listen to this record you don’t have to. Maps of Norway are not relying too much on a retro-electro feeling, however you get the impression that a group like Duran Duran isn’t too far away from their mindset on the dance pop of “Traffic”, which is similar in tone to Canadian outfit Controller.Controller. Singer Rebecca Leigh also brings to mind Karen O. on this ditty, as well as during the ragged, edgier “Manners” that relies very little on the guitar to drive the groove home. Another gem is the lean and mean, hi-hat-heavy rocker “Victory Lane”, which is a great Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like tune, as Leigh is in overdrive. Generally, the songs are delivered very well vocally and musically, particularly the pleasing, downbeat “Matches” that builds slowly but never bursts out of its shell. A couple of standouts are “Cellophane”, a track that sounds like an updated classic Blondie single, and the ensuing high octane rush of “Glass”. But even these pale compare to the intensity and passion the band oozes during the stellar “North South” and the remarkably well-crafted “Holland Tunnel”.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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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
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