I, The Mapmaker have got something special. They hit the ground running on their new EP Searching, where they take their music to the next level above where it could plateau, boxed in by genre restrictions. Instead, the music soars – and plummets, as it grips you and breaks your heart, in a sense, as the sudden realization of the intensity of what you’re listening to sets in.
To be clear, the band does an effective job without just being a tearjerker band – those kinds of projects aren’t always fitting. The songwriting on “1933,” though, is brilliant in the sense of that it doesn’t just have that general “story” feel that you hear about so often. Instead, it is an apparent story of the loss of a loved one that seems to take into account just how it might be the most effective in its construction. It saves details that make it obvious what is being described for the end, and in so doing, it effectively both keeps the listener in suspense and conveys the dissociation often associated with losing a loved one. Music is often emotionally gripping for reasons other than effective narrative construction, but here, the two are one and something new has been created.
That all comes across by the end of just the first two songs of the striking new EP.
Musically, Searching is thickly textured and gripping but not overwhelming; it finds a nice middle ground between extremes
Every song is extremely engaging. “Disbelief” is a masterfully woven song telling a story of isolation and rage that hits hard by the time it gets to a feature from Employed To Serve’s Justine Jones that eventually molds into Jones singing alongside the band’s own Ashley Emery. Done effectively, the words on an album can be as “physical” as the music on an album, and that is exactly what is the case here. There is something both special and hard hitting about the screamed lines, “Is this what praying is like? Screaming to ghosts with no reply?”
This album is begging to be screamed out in an intimate, live venue somewhere. In the meantime, any heavy music fan who is into letting their songs make them feel something needs to turn this EP on as soon as possible. There is something simple and yet incredibly profound here.