Parts & Labor | Mapmaker (Jagjaguwar/Brah)

cd_parts_laborWhile bands like Battles and Dungen are still being innovative and, more importantly, interesting, Parts & Labor have run out of ideas, becoming repetitive throughout the execution of Mapmaker.

 

 

 

 

Parts & Labor have been bringing organization to chaos for roughly three albums, frequently offering complex noise art meshed with their on-the-sleeve hardcore roots. Up until now they've been pretty good at it, too. The band's latest effort, Mapmaker, seems to have gone sour, converting artistic complexity to rather boring, ordinary, and completely ineffective songs. While bands like Battles and Dungen are still being innovative and, more importantly, interesting, Parts & Labor have run out of ideas, becoming repetitive throughout the execution of Mapmaker.

While the songs stick together in design, the one strongpoint on the album is the drumming of Christopher Weingarten, who jackhammers his way through the 12 tracks with incredible energy and obsession. He's reminiscent of John Bonham on speed but still sober enough to keep time like a metronome. Unfortunately, Weingarten by himself cannot save the album, as the songs are collectively so desperate for indie cred, longing for weirdness and individuality, that they fall right into the trap of trying to obtain uniqueness, and end up becoming exactly the opposite: dry and predictable.

There comes a point when a band in the hipster indie scene dares to be different. After all, it's how to stay fresh and sharp with all of those short attention spans the kids boast these days. I'm not here to bash creativity and risk taking, but this isn't what Parts & Labor achieved. Mapmaker falls short in their blatant attempt to fit in—by trying to not fit in. Ironically, the result is an album that sits too perfectly into the mold that indie rock has carved and has not offered anything new to marvel over. C- | Chris Schott

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