Memory Map is a band based out of Bloomington, Indiana. I used to live in Bloomington for a few years. Sometimes when I think back on those times, I’m either like, “Ugh” or “Fun!” I went to visit Bloomington last summer and after I left I was like, “Meh.” But despite my mono-syllabic reactions to the city, this college town has something about it that allows for some great bands. This keeps me from souring on it entirely. The four men that make up Memory Map are another great reason to keep from feeling totally disaffected about the place. The band is comprised of three guitarists and a drummer, with various members singing. Some might recognize a few of the members: Matt Tobey used to play in Abe Froman and does a solo project called Matty Pop Chart; Mike Dixon has played in Prayer Breakfast, Rep Seki, and Rapider Than Horsepower; and Mike Bridavsky is the owner of the famous internet cat, Lil Bub. Besides Dixon’s vocals sounding similar to what he did with Prayer Breakfast, Memory Map doesn’t sound like any of those other acts. It’s actually math rock indie pop. There are lots of twists and turns in the intricate guitar work and Dixon’s vocals are smooth and go down easy. It reminds me of what The Rutabega would sound like if they played math rock and had another guitar player or two. The twelve songs on The Sky As Well As Space clock in at thirty-six minutes, which is a satisfying length for the sound. While the music could’ve just been a simple guitar and drums lineup, the band chose to add depth through the occasional use of piano, strings, bongos, and huge choir-like background vocals. While they probably can’t reproduce this sound live, on the album it keeps things alive and interesting from track to track. The front half of the album is stronger and more intricate, with songs like “Dark Freshman” and “Words as Water” being standouts. The back half of the albums slows down and is more pop than math rock, but, on the whole, it’s solid. It deserves many repeated listens to explore the full extent of the sound. Bloomington does it again. Fun!
–kurt (Joyful Noise)