On their second full-length album, Chicago's Maps & Atlases defy easy categorization, choosing to walk their own incomparable musical path. Beware and Be Grateful sees the band's trademark experimentalism morphing to suit a more direct--though no less beguiling--songcraft. Fueled by a panoply of sonic influences, the album abounds with novel invention, spanning hymnal harmonies, percolating rhythms, even, in the case of centerpiece track, "Silver Self," a full-on guitar solo (though to be fair, it's unlike any solo previously committed to wax). Songs like "Remote And Dark Years" and "Fever" are gloriously liquid and lyrical, channeling Maps & Atlases' tightly constructed creativity into a genuinely distinctive brand of boundary-busting, asymmetrical pop. Self-assured and astonishingly ambitious, Beware and Be Grateful is a worthy follow-up to the band's acclaimed Barsuk debut Perch Patchwork. MP3 download card included with the LP.
Old & Gray
Remote & Dark Years
Be Three Years Old
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