Black Map – In Droves (Longbranch/SPV)
Genre: Alt. Rock
If 90s inspired alt. rock is making a revival through bands like Figures, then Black Map is part of that driving force.
In some ways the fact that this group, formed by three experienced musicians with a history of other projects behind them, is helping to lead the charge should come as no surprise.
From an Ash inspired big hooks on Run Rabbit Run to a vocal and lyrical depth that would have Pearl Jam asking for tips on Octavia, this is a body of work that is shifting, complicated and delightful.
Foxglove, which has the unenviable task of following on from Run Rabbit Run, shows a different side to the band as the frantic pace of its predecessor is slowed down and replaced with a more measured calm – but it’s a calm before the storm and when it breaks it leaves you in awe.
This is an album far more nuanced than a quick first listen implies and the melodies change and tumble throughout the record with poise. In Droves is certainly heavy, but it pulls it off without battering the listener into submission. This is death by a thousand cuts and you’ll go to your grave while asking for more.
Cash For The Fears is one of those songs that has a clear aggressive undercurrent but it relaxes into a far more melodic guitar driven sound while Transit III and Coma Phase combine to turn the album 360 degrees to close In Droves out in the pacey, enveloping style in which it began.
The album is the work of a band who are clearly comfortable in each other’s presence, but it’s also one that isn’t content with serving up 12 tracks that sound and feel the same.
This record deserves more than one listen. It deserves your concentration and it deserves to be noticed.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Showing the way