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Album review: Maps For Travelers - Change Your Name

How often is it that you find a punk band that can reach a diverse audience as Maps for Travelers has? The band, recently signed by No Sleep Records, put out its debut full-length release Change Your Name. And I will attest to the album’s ability to have at least one track that can—and will—grasp you.
The No Sleep newbies, who are now in the company of great punk acts like Balance and Composure, The Wonder Years, and Kansas City natives Coalesce and The Casket Lottery, have been working on Change Your Name for over a year. The wait is finally over, and the album is nothing less than magnificent.  
At face value, this is just another Kansas City-bred punk album, but closer inspection reveals more. The little cogs of the massive sound machine that is Maps will bring to your attention their sheer talent. Several intricate parts make this four-piece more than your average Midwestern emo/punk band.
Sparing no time, they hit you hard with the unbelievably heavy “Good Life” and “Life on Repeat” straight out of the gate. These first two tracks carry the essence of what Maps is about. Mingling hearty, clean vocals and tones with angst-ridden yells pushes the sound to something more post-hardcore.
A change of pace hits on the third track “Matter of Time.” The tempo slows and though there are no screaming vocals, Zach Brotherton’s singing picks up a scruffy sound. The angst still lingers here as well. But promptly as the album continues, the hard-hitting sounds return.
Beyond being great at the heavy stuff, Maps makes a decent slow jam. The majority of “Swoon” is tuned down. The closing statements of the album, “All Your Friends” and “They’re Learning Fast” will help bring your adrenaline down. The slow jams are soft and soulful. Carrying the same intensity as the previous tracks in the album, they hit just a bit more gently.
The lyrics are raw, the vocals are clear, the music is heavy and excellently executed. Whatever your genre of choice may be, something on Change Your Name will resonate in your head.
Maps For Travelers was signed by No Sleep Records back in July. Change Your Name was recorded and tracked at Black Lodge Recording, Element Recording by Joel Nanos, and Massive Sound Studios by Paul Malinowski. It was mixed by Jason McEntire at Sawhorse Productions (St. Louis) and mastered by Trevor Sadler at Mastermind Productions (Charlotte, NC).
This Friday, September 20, you can party with the guys from Maps and Radkey, as they play The Rendezvous in St. Joseph at 9 pm. Facebook event page. Their next show in Kansas City will be on Friday, October 11 at Czar with Restorations and Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship. Ticket link. Facebook event page.

--Steven Ervay 

Steven Ervay is super rad. 

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