New Zealand synth pop duo The Map Room release their sophomore album Weatherless today.
While their self-titled debut album addressed themes of displacement and motion inspired by the duo’s travels through South America, Weatherless explores the struggle and endeavour for clarity and being ‘truly present’, as time relentlessly marches on and we are constantly reminded of our past and future.
From the pulsing opener ‘Colour’, to the driving first single ‘Other Animal’ and the looping pulse of ‘Hold Me Up To The Sun’, Weatherless is full of infectious melodies, experimental production and head-nodding rhythms, pushing the bands sound in new directions while staying true to the foundations laid in their debut.
Band mates Simon Gooding and Brendon Morrow found themselves living in different cities, working on demos separately and meeting up every few months for intensive writing sessions and preproduction.
“During our last record, we only had guitars with us so we had to write with those, and while I think that was helpful in building strong songs, this time it was important to start with a beat or synth line and begin experimenting with different sounds”, says Morrow. “It was also helpful to get away from the instrument we were most comfortable with to free yourself from all that history and muscle memory”.
The band toured India in late 2015 as part of the NH7 Weekender Festival, road testing the new material and reworking several songs to capture a more live energy. Back in New Zealand, they recorded the 11 songs with drummer Andrew Keegan and bass player Jared Kahi, combining live performances with programmed samples and studio experimentation.
Produced and recorded entirely by the band, Weatherless explores themes of optimism, positivity and being present and awake in each moment. “Over the last couple of years, I started to feel like I was constantly either looking forward to the future, or reminiscing about the past. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how fast time flies, it’s good to stop and think about what’s really going on around you, right then and there,” Gooding says.
The band employed UK artist Matthew Cooper, (Caribou, Franz Ferdinand) to create the album artwork. “We wanted something bright and colourful to match how we felt the music was sounding, but also something abstract and a bit warped. The final pieces totally blew us away.”
Weatherless is now available for purchase from iTunes and all good digital service providers with CDs available from all good record stores and at live shows. Vinyl copies will be available later in the year.
The Map Room Weatherless album release shows:
Friday April 7th - Whammy Backroom, Auckland - tickets from UTR
Saturday April 8th - Meow, Wellington - tickets from UTR