At no point does the press release tell us that Maps is James Chapman’s stage name. It would be great if he’d been born Maps. He’d have to face school bullies saying stuff like, “Hey Maps, give us yer dinner money”. Anyway, the Northampton-born producer and musician has been doing this for 13 years now. Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. is his fourth album and first for six years. The album took three years to make and sees Maps pushing the limits of his studio and his creativity. He even plays the violin on it. White vinyl LP and CD on Mute.
Vinyl LP £18.38 STUMM438
White vinyl LP on Mute.
- Coloured vinyl
- Includes download code
CD £10.50 CDSTUMM438
CD on Mute.
James Chapman (aka Maps) is in quite a curious, if strong position in his career. He is still signed to Mute despite not having all that big of a profile. He hasn't released anything for a full six years which of course is a lifetime in the fickle world of music. He makes a kind of synthetic form of pop music that in the past has reaped some pretty decent dividends.
The awkwardly titled Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss (having thought about it, I'd prefer it without the full stops -i.e. Colours Reflect Time Loss....no?) sees him supersize his sound with additional strings and even bigger synths than before giving it the feel of some later Mercury Rev album or other. He has a voice that I've previously described as sounding like gas hissing from a broken pipe. So with all that in mind what does Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss have to offer? Well Chapman is a pretty decent songwriter. Third track Howl Around confirms this with it's Beatles-y melodies and slowly unfurling chorus. The overall impression I get of Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. is that it is as unwieldy as its title. Chapman throws strings, horns, kettle drums, the kitchen sink at it and has to be commended for his ambition. On initial listen I can't hear as many standout melodies as I heard on previous albums like Turning the Mind but that could be because they are slathered in extraoneous gloop.
Therefore those Mercury Rev comparisons are fairly apt. Expect to be overawed but somewhere beneath it all is a still heartfelt songwriter trying to wriggle out.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. by Maps
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