When Chicago math rockers Maps & Atlases released their long-awaited debut Perch Patchwork last year it was something of a surprise. Suddenly stripped of the immense technicality, swinging time signatures and sparse verse/chorus vocals of their two EPs Trees, Swallows, Houses and You, Me and The Mountain the band's first long-player was a much more accessible affair that merely hinted at their former mathy roots.

These approachable elements are all incorporated in the album's third track 'Living Decorations', which will be released on 7" single this month. Although it reins in the switching time signatures, 'Living Decorations' loses none of its loud level of percussion that define the band's sound. Beginning with drumming alone, the song starts off like many other Maps & Atlases tracks, yet it is the vocals that displace it. David Davison's notoriously nasal voice pierces the song, with his distorted lyrics of "We've been living decorations/ And I'm sad to say/ To get another place we've found seamless today" almost undecipherable. You have to work hard to unveil his words, but when you do you are rewarded with lovely lyrical gems such as "There was a shock in the arms and another death in the gutters/ Just found out looking at a million windows" layered over intense drumming and a fast-paced guitar melody that is the foundation of the song.

The song's bridge pulls all these elements together, and the drum's stop-start syncopation reignites the guitar riffs as Davison howls, "Tired of waiting for the cold to lift/ No one wants to hear it's such a crying shame." It is the percussion that is alone at the song's start and it is also all that's left as the song winds down, with fading glockenspiels and jungle-style drumming hinting at a wider scope of sound that Maps & Atlases have incorporated on their latest record.

Alongside the album version, the single contains an electronic remix by Breton Labs as its b-side. While it doesn't drift too far from the original, the timing and vocals remaining the same, its additional pulsing beats and programmed drumming breathes a new lease of life into the song and accentuates the originals repetitive finger tapping guitar melody to perfection.

'Living Decorations' does not fit the math rock mould of Maps & Atlases past. However, once this is considered you will find a slightly different, yet undeniably distinctive sound that the band delivers. The band sound incredible on record, and are just as invigorating live. If you missed their UK tour last month hopefully a spin of 'Living Decorations' will persuade you to reconsider next time they perform on these shores.

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