The opening strains of “Breakfast at Ikea” sound like Enigma, or like Tori Amos if ey plugged into an outlet. Soon after, a disaffected set of vocals attempt a blend of The Smiths and Depeche Mode before kicking into a very seventies arrangement. Overall, Map goes through a number of styles in their creation of a Map-specific sound. By crafting this sound at such an early point during “San Francisco in the 90’s”, Map is able to make this EP a tour de force.
Most bands struggle to find themselves with so few (six, in this case) songs, but Map knows exactly where to go from the outset of this album. The band does not rest on their laurels, even for a second; the two and three-forths minute runtime of “Breakfast At Ikea” sounds nearly twice as long as they do not have a long introduction or other delaying tactics to start off their album. The title track moves into a Franz Ferdinand-like angularity to the guitars, but goes into the same slow and deliberate tempo that started off the EP.
Again, the richness of the experience that Map is giving with this EP means that the barely-two minutes of the title track feels much longer than the temporal limits of the disc would normally allow. The entirety of the EP is sixteen minutes, but the compelling arrangements and the different yet similar sound of Map makes it feel as if “San Francisco in the 90’s” is a half-hour opus. However solid the other tracks on the album may, “Au Bord de la Mer” is the top of the top. The band urges the composition along, even if the vocals are sedate and slow. There would normally be a disjuncture between the slower vocals and the quicker instrumental arrangements, but the tension between the two styles conflicting places the band into a completely different realm. The disc may be short (even if it sounds longer than it truly is), but there is a very high level of replay that can be had with “San Francisco in the 90’s”. Here is hoping that Map is able to continue along their career trajectory with an LP that is at the same high level that the EP struck for the band. Pick up this album if you are interested in a band that creates a brand of alternative rock that is different while still being similar to the genre as a whole.
Top Track: Rachael Dreams
Map – San Francisco in the 90’s / 2006 Velvet Blue / 6 Tracks / http://www.velvetbluemusic.com / Reviewed 10 November 2006