Dave Davison, guitarist and vocalist for Maps & Atlases, is a phrenic songwriter. The combo, known for laying exuberant indie pop melodies over fractal sextuplets and syncopated 8-beats, clearly picks up a prog-pop mantle that Yes laid down on Fragile, at least a decade before he was born. Still, he thinks, counting complex time isn't the outfit's sole calling.
"I don't think we fit perfectly into the math rock genre, in that bigger part of what we want to do is make songs that are enjoyable and that people can connect to, that have an emotional heart to them, as well as being interesting on a cerebral level," the amply-bearded frontman asserted. "We try to balance those two."
Nearly a year after Maps & Atlases released their second full-length record, Beware and Be Greatful, on Barsuk Records, the Chicago-based combo is hitting the road again. They will play Oakley's 20th Century Theatre tonight at 8 pm, with support from Cincinnati's Archer's Paradox.
"It's been a lot of fun playing the songs live," Davison explained. "We've continuously expanded the circle of things that could be brought into the style that we've cultivated together. I think for this album, we deliberately tried to do things that we'd never done before, but to do them in a way that felt natural."
This spring, Maps & Atlases will be well-traveled.
"We're doing this little group of shows that we're excited about, then we're going to Europe, in February," he said. "We're looking forward to coming back to Cincinnati. The last show there was in July and every time we've come there, it's been a superb visit."
After concluding a warm-up run in the Midwest, they'll embark on a month-and-a-half passport-filling leg with dates in Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, and France, before ending in the UK.
"We'll definitely be doing some more touring and hopefully recording," Davison chuckled. "We'll be somewhat playing it by ear and just trying to enjoy ourselves."