XOYO is a venue that popped into existence in the fashionable eastern sector known as Old Street towards the tail end of last year, materialising down a shady side street in a hipster-happy fashion, with the bulk of the venue submerged sub- level, in a large metallic and stone basement. As well as advertising itself as an artistic centre, a glut of indie acts and electronic whizz-kids began to populate the gig list for the newly minted establishment, including luminaries such as Xiu Xiu as well as buzz bands such as Mount Kimbie. To kick off February, XOYO hosted Maps & Atlases, a group who manage to fuse country folk with rhythmic indie, with a mouth-watering garnish of beards, bass and beats, having finally released their debut full length in Perch Patchwork.

Cymbals are a bunch of boys who opened the night with enough jerk and jangle to rattle the slowly massing punters. They sharpen the edges of their music with a beautifully blunt bit of yelping and thinly cut slices of jagged guitar. The punch and power of their tone sends their melodies skywards, grinning and gurning as it goes. Then, Three Trapped Tigers took their turn, self-labelled as 'noiseniks'. They tear a hole right through indietronica, blending squealing synth with careening pulses of guitar that teeter on the edge before whirling back into a maelstrom. Their penchant for naming songs after numbers, as well as their comfortably chaotic electronic skitz, sends my mind flying back to iForward Russia. Indie memories!.

Maps & Atlases are a four piece based out of Chicago who have taken a love of folk rock and a passion for harder, rhythmic alt rock and then smushed them together until it resembles a variant of math rock, all jangly and jaunty with an organic sense of melody and lyricism that root it firmly to the ground. The four men that take the stage are a motley crue of accomplished musicians who like to stretch their instrumental affections to their utmost, noodling away from the very start with 'Pigeon', a track that begins with a sharp, shearing guitar line that gives way for a throbbing drumbeat and a rattling riff, echoing within itself as it bounced around the cavernous, clanging cave of the venue space.

At times, beards included, they resemble a math rock Fleet Foxes, content to keep their toes in the folky flutterings of the great American tradition whilst fiddling away with electric guitars and rhythmic wanderings that stumbles sideways into an upbeat splash of indie rock. Maps & Atlases control the crowd as swiftly as they control their instrumental wanderings, seemingly scattering off before ensuring everything sticks and slides together so seamlessly, with a subtle direction that eventually points like a needle towards a confidently coruscating culmination.

The vocal inflections of lead singer Dave Davison (if this is a real name, I want to shake his parents hands) quickly become a focal point, thanks to the subtly high tone that bleeds Americana yet retains a strange sense of vulnerability, possibly due to it's tendency to wail, wander and tumble forth at times. A strong line up of tightly strung and tautly together musicians assist in the overall effect nonetheless, evident in the seemingly soft cadence of 'Was', a mostly instrumental affair where inventive percussion and machine-like guitar combine to meander through a few sweetly strummed minutes of a soft, sonic shower.

Maps & Atlases are one album in and, judging by the hollering crowd packed into XOYO, have a veritably vivacious set of fans who prefer to croon (rather than screech) every word back whilst swaying graciously to the mid-Western math rock being peddled on stage. If the beards of the band (and half the crowd) grow at an equal rate to the untameable talent and sage showcase of melody and harmony growing with each release and performance, then we are looking at swathes of festival crowds being able to shimmy along on a bed of hair throughout the next few summers (eww).