Thursday, January 19, 2012

Map Of The World - An Inch Equals A Thousand Miles

A long forgotten quintet from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Map Of The World swindled one six-song e.p. from Atlantic records at the tail end of 1989 before being unceremoniously dropped by the label the following year.

Which is kind of a bummer since that aforementioned e.p., An Inch Equals A Thousand Miles sounds like a stone cold winner, hinting at a band with that certain amount of potential that major labels used to hold on to until their credit ran out and all of their recorded output became the property of W.E.A.

To be honest, I can only assume that M.O.T.W. ran into the same cliched bullshit with Atlantic, but I'm assuming the worse because barely a peep was heard from these nifty pop rockers after this release.

There is a bit of resemblance to 10,000 Maniacs had Natalie Merchant stayed in the garage instead of basking in Don Dixon’s sheen. Vocalist Sophia Hanifi can belt out a mean tune, even if that tune was penned with the obtuse outlook of her big brother Khalid.

He also brings a rougher edge to the mix, particular with the stompy opener “The Wall Of Least Resistance.” Sister steps right up with track two, an amazingly epic “Impenetrable You,” the highlight of the short-stack that alternates from brooding mystery before it sucker punches you with its loud/soft dynamics.

And the hidden element in all of this is Donn Deniston’s wonderfully out of place drums. The tape operators have his thunder arms way up in the mix, beating the living shit out of anyone who dares to compare them to 10,000 Maniacs in their review of An Inch.

By skipping the “where are they now” category and moving straight to the conspiracy theorists who might claim brother and sister Hanifi have been abducted by tastemaking aliens, it’s good to know that at least Khalid continues making music as a solo artist in the Michigan thicket.

But what a ride he could have had if Map Of The World found success in their first major label effort. It would have been great if this e.p. was properly promoted by their big pocket bosses and if their wonderfully varied sound left to flourish in the possibilities presented in these fine half-dozen gems.

Since no videos of Map Of The World exist on You Tube, you'll have to take my word on this one. But feel free to check out a sample of what Khalid's been up to with this clip of a recent track from last year.

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