The Republic of Wolves
The Cartographer


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 2nd, 2011 | 87 replies | 19,405 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Cartographer is the perfect counterpart to this band’s debut album, retaining its most likable traits and injecting it with more hooks and melodic qualities.

For those of you that have done everything in your power to forget seventh grade social studies, let this be a brief mini-lesson: a cartographer is someone who produces maps, including the construction of projections, design, compilation, drafting, and reproduction (dictionary.com). The impact of cartography is far-reaching, influencing the discovery of nations, mediaeval trade routes, and our current society’s vast knowledge of the globe. It is truly one of the most underappreciated art forms in our world’s history.

The Republic of Wolves’ 2011 EP is slightly less impressive…but The Cartographer is still appropriately titled. The Republic of Wolves are in the process of establishing a signature sound, experimenting with new styles, and in essence, mapping out where they are and where they want to go as artists in the twenty-first century music scene. The Cartographer is the band’s way of reaching out beyond what they already know, and exploring the boundaries within themselves and within a genre. Varuna was an outstanding debut, but there were still a few obvious shortcomings. The Cartographer rectifies many of those issues, while staying true to the approach that fans of His Old Branches and Varuna found so alluring.

The Republic of Wolves appear to be letting loose a little bit, stepping outside of the rigidly dark alt-rock atmospheres of their earlier works and incorporating more melodic qualities. “Widow’s Walk”, for instance, features a huge sing along chorus, the likes of which can’t be found anywhere else in the band’s discography, save “The Oarsman.” There is a lighter tone throughout the EP that suggests that the band isn’t taking themselves so seriously this time around; and the fact that their efforts still result in something completely unique and this dynamic just make the evolution even more beautiful. “Home” follows up a peculiar but compelling instrumental introduction (“The Pilot and the Pilot’s Boy”) with twangy electric guitars and a surprisingly unrestrained vocal performance by Gregg Andrew, who belts out So I’ll stay with you in my mind, and I won’t let myself believe you’re mine! in a balls-out, nearly Led Zeppelin like fashion. Then there are refreshingly forward moments like “Calm Down”, which, after the tremendously energetic and upbeat “Home”, does just that to the listener. With slow acoustic strumming, dreamy sound effects, and echoing vocals, the song lulls you back into a sense of safety.

Another thing that avid fans will notice on The Cartographer is the increased focus on percussion, as many of the songs benefit from the added “pop” of a well-timed drum fill or the intensity of a song driven from the start by drumming. The best instance of this can be found in the nine minute closer, “The Dead Men Stood Together”, which kicks off with some fast-paced and impressively diverse drumming techniques before shifting in rhythm to more of a ballad-style tempo. The band’s improvement in this area serves the EPs lively sound quite well, giving it an untamed sense of brazenness and fulfillment from a technical/musical standpoint.

Regardless of whether the Republic of Wolves amp it up or take a more mild approach, the one consistent theme throughout The Cartographer is growth. The music is more melodic and accessible, and as a result, it flows better. It may not be as overtly dark and depressing as the band’s preceding works, but it still maintains a level of mystique and a shadowy element that appears to be a permanent aspect of their personality. In the meanwhile, other areas of their music have become an open window, with endless possibilities for experimentation. There are undeniable traces of something absolutely remarkable occurring…something startlingly good. It is bubbling under the surface, waiting to be unleashed… The Republic of Wolves are just getting started, and there is no doubt that they have an absolute monster of an album hidden inside of them. It’s not a matter of if, it is simply a matter of when. Until that time, they leave us with a thoroughly enjoyable and technically sound extended play in The Cartographer, along with these inspirational lyrics that serve as metaphor for the band’s discovery and rise to stardom:

All the people I thought I could trust just let me down
So don’t waste your life at home
Go and get heard on your own



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Parenthetical citations for the win!

Stream:
http://underthegunreview.net/2011/01/01/stream-republic-of-wolves-the-cartographer/

PS: I need to do a negative review sometime soon. I feel like the last 5 or 10 albums I've reviewed have all gotten a 3.5-4.5...but I'd have to check to be sure...

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

couldwinarabbit
January 2nd 2011



6996 Comments


cool review. There album wore off on me so I doubt I'll check this out. It seems more something you and the staff would like. What are you gonna neg?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It seems more something you and the staff would like

I actually don't think anyone else on the staff appreciates this band that much...

What are you gonna neg?

huh? what are you talking about?

cool review

thanks : )

couldwinarabbit
January 2nd 2011



6996 Comments


"I need to do a negative review sometime soon" that is what I was refering too?

and no one on staff likes this I thought someone like Chan or Knott would love this band.

OutOfMyself
January 2nd 2011



688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, I loved the concept of the opening two paragraphs especially. Pos'd!

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Oh, I get what you are saying now...I haven't decided yet...hopefully something controversial : )

And if Chan or Knott likes this I'm not aware of it...

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011



4459 Comments


MLA is the ugliest citation system. I don't know if I would like these guys or not, will check out the stream. Cartography is awesome, so is this review

crazyblinddude
January 2nd 2011



3389 Comments


Oh shit another one so soon. I'll have to check this one out too.

Nice review btw.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

the old stream stopped working so i posted a new one...you might have to scroll down the page to find it though, and click on "full story"

sorry the new link isn't as easy to follow

Gyromania
January 2nd 2011



15508 Comments


Really awesome review.

foreverendeared
January 2nd 2011



14678 Comments


Great review Sowing. I like Varuna quite a bit.

Strider
January 2nd 2011



4598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They already have something else out?? :o I'm getting this one ASAP, great review as usual Sowing.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

apparently they have had this finished since before varuna, they just chose to release it on new years day for some reason

foreverendeared
January 2nd 2011



14678 Comments


that's... really odd haha

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

well before the release of varuna

they didnt have it done before they had varuna done...if that makes sense haha

Strider
January 2nd 2011



4598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so, you're saying that they were already progressing like this while writing stuff for the first album? impressive

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah basically

Strider
January 2nd 2011



4598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Google is not helping me find it right now...

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 2nd 2011



10593 Comments


Congrats on your 80th Sowing, great job! Maybe I'll check this band out soon...

Chicago style notation ftw, btw...

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2011



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

the stream is up there^ somewhere

and thanks xeno =)



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