Don Caballero and Dakota/Dakota obviously influence Chicago's Maps & Atlases, a band whose music is a brain-bending circus act of maniacal guitar tapping and spastic, yet perfectly formulated, time signature morphing. But the band's latest EP, You and Me and the Mountain, finds it wisely spotlighting textured vocal harmonies, soulful melodies and focused arrangements. While Mountain retains the band's math-rockiness and challenging arrangements, the new material features catchy, well-developed songs which set the band apart. In fact, the EP draws as much from Paul Simon's Graceland as it does from the jittery, number-crunching bombast of some of Maps and Atlases' Windy City counterparts. The result is a much more evolved sound that is most certainly still mad-science lab, but invites more people to bear witness to the experiment.
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