Maps - Manchester Academy 3
The Maps template - moody lo-fi bedroom electronica - comes beautifully to life. Main man James Chapman, whose 'We Can Create' debut album was largely a one man affair, stands in front of four sympathetic helpers. The decision to go for the more organic approach of a live band was the right one. Tonight's performance gives colour and form to songs whose original hushed shapes may now well sound a little under-powered when compared to their live band versions.
In short, they play the album pretty much in its entirety. 'So Low, So High' sneaks up on you with its under-stated, furtive beats. 'You Don't Know her Name', one of the album's biggest moments with its euphoric chorus, dazzles. 'Don't Fear' really does take off, really does benefit from the extra muscle. Both intimate and anthemic, Chapman's professed influences (My Bloody Valentine, Spaceman 3) seem accurate enough markers for the spacey side of his palette but 4AD's late 80s act Ultra Vivid Scene are in there too, certainly in Chapman's moodier, more confessional side. Whatever - Maps have enough uncommon gravity and grace to stand out. As the band warm up, a little hesitant at first but striding by the end, so too does the appreciative audience. Chapman and his cohorts leave the stage to whoops and stomping applause. Recommended.