Meeting in a Chicago art school over a love of Don Caballero and Hella, Maps & Atlases transitioned through the overt technicality of their fleet-fingered early EPs and the orchestrally complex instrumentation of debut full-length ‘Perch Patchwork’ before settling comfortably into last year’s eclectically poppy ‘Beware and Be Grateful’, an album built on the foundations of a long-held appreciation of classic pop artists like David Bowie, Talking Heads and Prince but supported by the structure of their own talent and established style. Except this is a band who never seem to settle comfortably – each release takes them in a new direction to explore their abilities and grow as musicians – and the only propensity for an established style is that the members remain the same. A conundrum indeed, a mass of contradictions, but the longing in Dave Davison’s reedy voice and the chirpy personality of the tumbling basslines and flittering guitar work, at times almost like bird song, is the thread that weaves its way through each release to date. ‘Perch Patchwork’ received widespread critical acclaim but was written and recorded almost purely for the studio, whereas ‘Beware and Be Grateful’ returned the bands focus to live performance, bringing in a desire to explore the benefits of improvisation their innate ability can produce when combined with the introduction of pedals and other live effects to their sonic arsenal. The music world’s reaction has been equally positive though, and their return to Brighton should be a date to mark in the calendar. One of the most imaginative and listenable bands you’re likely to find.