Maps- We Can Create
Out on the 14th May 'We can create', the debut release from Maps aka bedroom recluse James Chapman, is an odd one really. One computer-less Northampton lad decided to take it upon himself and do a Daniel Beddingfield (well kinda). Alex Turner once said he could only write lyrics worth composing music for when in his convivial room in Sheffield- maybe Chapman was going for the same approach, unfortunately possibly not creating such sweet music.
Similarities almost immediately scream Arcade Fire and British Sea Power at me, with the wavey melodic sound that Chapman creates. Yet not so similar to the two bands prior, Chapman opts it appears for electronic computer-driven sounds as opposed to traditional instruments. Normally this isn't such an issue, but for a whole album to sound quite so repetitive due to this very fact, I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed with the outcome. His apparent objective to bring shoegaze back into fashion may have left him flat on his face, as although the genre most definitely needs revival, Maps isn't the way to do it. Receiving good past reviews from acclaimed music magazine NME, apparently the boy is doing something right, regardless of whether I believe the hype.
The first three tracks bring out a pleasant sentiment amongst the air; 'you don't know her name' is a poignant, uplifting track, a rare find on this release as the gravelly vocals contrast very well with the music. 'Elouise' is also a pretty good tune, very similar to The Anniversary material throughout 'Your Majesty'. But again, you almost want the song to end two minutes before it does- she knows you're singing about her mate. And from then on I was disappointed, frustrated even with the rest of 'We can create'.
I can't really explain why it irritated me quite so much. I have never declared love for this particular genre of music, but I almost felt Chapman was sending out a message. A message to all those Pete Doherty wannabes, musical 'geniuses' who honestly believe they could have completed 'OK Computer' in a days work- maybe even bettering it. James Chapman, set to perform at this years Reading and Leeds festivals has quite clearly not done anything of the sort, but the mere fact he made the effort to give it a go, ignore his financial instability and use his initiative to make a record, is something worth writing about surely?
Unfortunately, and I say that sincerely, the release doesn't really do it for me, and in contrast fades into nothingness. Indie record label Mute records could so easily have had a star here if perhaps, he had been less like a vegetarian chef cooking a glorious meat filled dish he had never asked anybody to taste before serving, and stuck strictly to present what he knew. Chapman has perhaps bitten off more than he can chew with this release, aiming to fill the roles of producer, vocalist and even remarkably, the computer hard drive. I have to admit to turning it off a couple of times and finding something in my CD collection I had been thinking about as soon as I put 'We Can Create' in my CD player. This release I'm afraid would kill any party, or prevent one from even starting- Mercury prize nomination here he comes.