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Album Review: Mixtapes - Maps

Mixtapes’ name often gets bandied about when people talk about the new generation of punk-pop. But what, perhaps, they failed to notice, is that their contemporaries are growing up musically. It seems inconceivable that the same band that put out ‘Get Stoked on It!’ could release ‘Surburbia…’. Remember the 'Stay Home' EP? Compare that to ‘Long Lost Friends’, which Transit debuted last week. Is there a more marked evolution of a band’s sound than that which Transit has undergone?

Which brings us to Mixtapes. The easiest way to summarize it is to say that if you miss ‘Get Stoked on It!’-era Wonder Years, or crave dumb, no-brain pop than you will probably enjoy this. Songs like “Pop rocks ‘n Coke” contain the lyrical gems: “Eating pop rocks, drinking coke, I think my stomach might explode”. It’s hard-hitting stuff.

True, not all music has to have a message, and that song is a slight exception to the rest of the album, but Mixtapes seem to specialize in writing one- or two-minute songs where lyrical ideas aren’t fully developed.

There’s also the annoying tendency to reach for the acoustic guitar far, far too often, though, admittedly, the best song on the album, ‘And If We Both Fail’ is wholly acoustic. With average lyrics and musicianship on display, there is little in these songs to justify their place on the album. In fact, many of the songs are carried on the strength of the dual, female/male vocals.

It is possible that Mixtapes aren’t quite sure of their own strengths yet – they are still a relatively new band. A song like 'Cassettes (N.C.K.T.G)' hints that the band has potential as a balls-to-the-wall pop-punk band, though the aforementioned ‘And If We Both Fail’ shows they can write catchy acoustic pop songs, too.

Yet 'Maps' falls in the between; a murky, muddy and forgettable ground where 14 songs fly past with little to cling on to.

However, it is free. So there’s no excuse for you not to listen to it, is there?


Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!