FALLING OFF MAPS – ‘A Seaside Town In Winter’
(Out Now on Square Peg Round Hole)
IN STARK CONTRAST IT SEEMS TO COMMON RULE, honest and liberating music can come in the most unexpected form. What’s so much more effective than your usual three chord tirade, is an emotional warmth played through subtle musicianship that defends and protects from a dark interior. Nottingham quintet Falling Off Maps barely progress beyond keys and vocal throught this 15 track debut, but with such a minimalist approach comes sincerity and an intimacy from a band who’s touch can be wonderfully light.
The landscape they sketch is both bleak an uninviting, much like that inhabited by Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie and In Rainbow’s era Radiohead, but with mini epics like ‘The Redeemer’ and ‘All My Fears’, it’s done subtely so. The majority of this debut is muted and reticent but in Dave Wright, they have a vocalist capable of spine-tingling emotion. His celestial articulation should stir the soul of any hardened Rock ‘n’ Roller, but where the songs can often provide a place of solace, they can also take a mite too long to deliver a recognisable punchline.
As debuts go A Seaside…is uniquely understated, comprising a number of condensed dramas to retreat into. Question marks may hang heavily however on the longevity of such a gentle formula. (6)