Sunday, 21 October 2012

Who Needs Maps? - Self Titled 12"


I've been sent so much music over the last few months, that due to my own slackness/lack of time/job and social life (choose whichever excuse you want), I haven't been writing as many reviews as I would like. The majority of records I've been sent have been part of big promo campaigns which is cool, but I've also been sent a lot of stuff directly from bands and individuals, so I feel compelled to write about some of those in order to let them know I;m not ignoring them and to clear my conscience slightly.

Bertrand from Who Needs Maps? got in touch with me ages ago, after I wrote a review of a Hexis 7" that he had a hand in releasing. He said he'd send me digi copies of a couple of releases by his own bands, Who Needs Map? and Never Again. I've already reviewed their demo, so it's not the turn of their eight track debut album. I've done some searching to and none of the track on this record seem to have names. but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Tracklisting:-

1. 01
2. 02
3. 03
4. 04
5. 05
6. 06
7. 07
8. 08


Who Needs Maps? is full of short, sharp hardcore. It's modern in approach yet has plenty of dissonance and feeling to it. Even though there are no reference points in the form of actual song titles, as a cohesive whole it's pretty damn good. There's plenty of melody in the riffs in track 01 and the fact that the vocals are not Americanised to the hilt and more native, makes them sound more real. This is raw hardcore with feeling, sometimes crossing into screamo territory but only subtly. Track 02 has a great punk feel too it and more of a rock n roll vibe that hits you immediately. It's another fast one thanks to the pounding drumming but it also proves that Who Needs Maps? are very adept songwriters, with ability to slow things down with the odd thoughtful refrain.

They use chords to good effect, beefing up the noise coming from their guitars and when all parts play in unison, it's a rewarding sound that comes out of the speakers. The introspective passage part way through Track 3 gives way to some twinkly screamo style guitar and clean singing, which brings variation to the fore. I like the fact that the production here isn't too clinical, as it allows Who Needs Maps? sound to jump out and helps you to appreciate what they must sound like live. It's really listenable and the indie/screamo guitar I keep waxing lyrical about really helps brighten the mood (screamo does seem to be one of my favourite sub genres of late).

The atmosphere of this record comes to fore in the majestic Track 05. The riffs give off a sense of menacing angst and it reminds me of why I'm so into this type of music, which normal people don't get or are even scared by! It’s the raw emotion that individuals portray; it resonates with me on a level I can't describe. Track 5 has it all, the passionate off the register screams, the nerve jangling instrumentation and even the sense of elation when it all comes to an end. This is a standout track for me. Track 6 sees Who Needs Maps? heading back to more familiar territory. Out go the crescendos of noise and in come more indie/screamo guitar and the general rocky vibe that makes their varied sound so engaging. I guess that's the key to this record, the variation. It's okay to stick ten songs on an album, that sound all the same as you know the formula works, but it's infinitely better to play around, to tug at your listeners heartstrings and to unleash the kind of fury that people rarely show in rational situations.

It may be my fog ridden stupor this morning, but I'm truly feeling this and as the view out of my window gets more and more obscure, my mind gets cleared by the cleansing experience of listening to this record and I'm not even at the end yet! The final two songs, 07 and 08 are more urgent pieces. 07 is a fast, punk ridden hardcore neck snapper and 08 is the bouncing song that you want as a closer. Its full of energy and underline one last time, the level of emotion and thought that Who Needs Maps? have put into this record. It features the majestic vibe of Track 05 but contains mixtures of the other ideas used here, to make a final all-encompassing hardcore song that leaves you with only a few words left to say, Allez Les French Hardcore!

I've not been able to find any Internet streams for this record. Who Needs Maps? do have a Bandcamp page though at http://whoneedsmaps.bandcamp.com and a blog at www.whoneedsmapsband.blogspot.com.

This 12" was released through a myriad of labels as well as Bertrand's own Orchidscent Records label, which can be found at http://orchidscentrecords.blogspot.co.uk/. These include Maldoror Records, Dream Comes True Records, Impure Muzik, Dingleberry Records, Shove Records, Ape Must Not Kill Ape Records, Emotionally Unstable Records, Gluacoma Releases, Estella Dead Fashion Distro.

You won't find this record in many places, as it sold out a while ago, but I managed to find copies on the Dingleberry Records Discogs page - http://www.discogs.com/sell/list?label=Dingleberry+Records&ev=lb.

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