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Beware and Be Grateful

Maps & Atlases

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Album Review

The sophomore outing from idiosyncratic Midwesterners Maps & Atlases builds on the angular math pop of 2010's Perch Patchwork by dialing down the difficulty of the arithmetic. Beware and Be Grateful's success lies in the group's ability to make its many quirks accessible, and while there are plenty of cerebral moments to be found, there's a warm organic center to each track that ultimately wins out. Bookended by its two most affecting cuts, the sneaky TV on the Radio-meets-Fleet Foxes love song "Old & Gray" and the measured, stoic closer "Important," Beware and Be Grateful relies heavily on the syncopated beats, dry Soweto-inspired guitar leads, and incredibly malleable vocals of Dave Davison that made Perch Patchwork such an intriguing, and occasionally polarizing, experience. On first listen, tracks like "Be Three Years Old" and "Bugs" spiral into the abyss, but as the foundation crumbles beneath them, a new one is quickly laid in its place, a trick that Maps & Atlases' moodier U.K. doppelgängers Wild Beasts have been perfecting since their 2009 debut. This kind of attention to detail can often result in overwrought, overly mapped and cluttered slabs of soulless technical prowess, but the quartet knows the difference between a hook and lick, and applies that knowledge liberally on this extremely likable set of clever summery pop songs.

Customer Reviews

Profound, start to finish, master-class folk pop

How no one has reviewed this album yet baffles me. This is truly a perfect album. With profound lyrics, technical yet accessible instrumentation, smart, poppy melodies, and quick, sharp rhythms, Maps and Atlases have truly outdone themselves here and have made an album for people from 8-80. Buy this album, buy it twice.


Formed: 2004 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Eccentric indie rock band Maps & Atlases feature Erin Elders (guitar), Shiraz Dada (bass), Chris Hainey (drums), and Dave Davison (guitar/vocals). Although they are based in Chicago, the members of Maps & Atlases prefer to align themselves with the term they define as "new regionalism." Dada is actually the only one who calls Chicago home. Hainey hails from Texas, whereas Elders has soaked up the sun in Maui. Davison had a humble Midwestern upbringing in Indiana. The foursome initially met...
Full Bio
Beware and Be Grateful, Maps & Atlases
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Customer Ratings