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Valium in the sunshine and showers
on 2 October 2009
Two years after releasing one of the finest debuts in history, James Chapman as Maps has followed We Can Create with a mixed bag. There is an awful lot of production, some unneeded, and in his efforts to produce dance classics seem too strained. Still, the album looked initially like it was going to be a shoegaze fest so at least we have a step in the right direction with the final incarnation of Turning the Mind.
The album starts with opener of the same name, not a bad song but not really extraordinary, before plunging into 'I Dream of Crystal' - classic Maps and one of his best to date. After that we get a couple more melody driven songs such 'Valium in the Sunshine', another of my favourites, but mostly we have many more beats and electro-lite songs such as 'Let Go of the Fear'. The tracks seem to get progressively worse as the album wears on, 'Everything is Shattering' being shamelessly pop but still average, 'Love Will Come' is ok but not the classic i believe Chapman was aiming for with it and 80s synth parade 'Chemeleon' being neither hear nor there.
Ending much like the start in quality, 'Die Happy, Die Smiling' is another shamelessly upbeat tune that works and is a contender for track of the album, then Without you is fairly nondescript. By the end of the album i had hoped to have been on a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions. But i just ended up with a feeling that the album, whilst far from bad and definitely better than 95% of bands at the moment, lacked the intellect I was looking for. Still, the songs in isolation are decent if not as a whole. But anyone who hasn't heard Maps before and is interested should look to We Can Create for real quality.