Parts and Labor – Mapmaker (5.30.07)

Posted on July 28, 2008



Brooklyn’s long-running spaz-rock trio Parts and Labor pull a fast one on everybody with Mapmaker and get really, really catchy. Though they’ve always run with the primary-colored duct tape and super-loud Casiotone crowd, these guys must have been plotting something all along, because what we have here takes just as many cues from ’80s pop and SoCal sing-along punk songs in major keys as it does gonzo Lightning Bolt drumming and circuit-bending Black Dice effects-pedal nerdery. These boys have rallied all the disparate elements of a whole generation’s worth of confusing influences to take up arms in a bright-eyed, un-ironic manifesto against the world. A Neutral Milk Hotel-style brass band ushers in the climax of “Fractured Skies” against a bed of haywire electronics and war-march drums, while “Fake Rain” deploys every-angle-at-once prophecies of worldwide systems failure like Dylan mixed with Jeff Mangum mixed with short-circuiting Scottish-bagpipe-brigade robots. B.J. Warshaw and Dan Friel trade off fuzzy vocals like kids singing along to Dropkick Murphys—kids convinced the stuff actually means something. And that’s not something we’re used to getting from the usually too-clever, insular noise-rock scene. Mapmaker is big, bright, eager and beautiful.

[Originally Appeared in Boston’s Weekly Dig 5.30.07]