[Locals Only] Review of Map's Regrets, Silhouettes, and Distractions

Right from the start, Map put themselves at a disadvantage with that name. Dudes, do you know how hard it is to Google “Map”? Luckily, it turns out that nomenclature is Map's biggest flaw.

The Riverside quintet's music (15 tracks culled from two out-of-print EPs and five previously unreleased cuts) on Regrets, Silhouettes, and Distractions falls into that small-but-necessary niche of delicate indie rock created for the delectation of sensitive, introverted folks who've never used “party” as a verb, nor projectile-vomited out of a moving vehicle. As long as there are bookish college students, inhibited aesthetes and misunderstood post-grads walking this earth, bands like Map will have a passionate, if humble, following.

Regrets, Silhouettes, and Distractions abounds with songs suffused in an amber glow, as guitarist Josh Dooley's easygoing, mildly morose vocals slouch over his own gently chiming guitars and Paul Akers' complementary keyboards. (Bassist Loop and drummers Ben Heywood and Trevor Monks complete the lineup.) They make nice-guy music, which is usually yawn-inspiring, but Map keep things interesting against the odds through their gorgeous melodies, pleasantly melancholy moods and attractively dewy textures.

We all occasionally need some gooey-centered sounds in which to wallow in self-pity, and Map fulfill that function wonderfully. In this regard, they follow in the tradition of such modestly luxuriant songcraft as Australia's sainted Go-Betweens and England's reigning princes of soft-pop splendor, the Clientele. This is distinctly not sunny, SoCal, funfunfun material, but we already have an overabundance of that, and fun is overrated, anyway.

Regrets, Silhouettes, and Distractions is available via Huntington Beach's Velvet Blue Music and iTunes. For more information, visit www.velvetbluemusic.com and www.myspace.com/thebandmap.

Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to ds****@oc******.com.

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