Thank You Scientist
Maps of Non-Existent Places


4.8
classic

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
September 28th, 2014 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A masterful new take on a previously limited fusion.

It's hard not to be at least a little bit awed by the few artists that manage to properly and interestingly fuse elements of genres that have always sort of hid behind their white picket fences from one another. I don't think that jazz and rock are so necessarily segregated and more and more bands have been making it apparent that they make good bedfellows recently, but the overall crop of bands that do so remains a limited group. The number that utilize a horns section and a violinist probably number only New Jersey's Thank You Scientist.

Blending everything from Latin melodies and swing beats to metal-based guitar technicality that rivals that of nearly any contemporary, on paper, Maps of Nonexistent Places sounds like a mess waiting to happen or at the very least, something painfully inaccessible to casual listeners. Yet the careful and obviously deliberate arranging on the album creates a flow that's not only interesting, but impressive, catchy, and downright fun. No track does a better job of typifying what the entire album is about than "Blood on the Radio," a nine minute song that manages to feel short while burning through ska-based riffs, an upbeat groove from south of the border, and solos from strings and brass alike. Yet it's the solid rock foundation that keeps "Blood on the Radio" and Maps as a whole tight. Though it deviates frequently on a journey that always seems to bear south through the jazz and swing sounds of New Orleans down to the rapid trumpeting of Mexico and Latin America back on up, the core fundamentals of the group keep things beautifully unified no matter the direction or speed of the journey.

While it's easy to downplay these matters of fusion as something we've seen before in bands like King Crimson or Cynic, the sound presented on Maps of Nonexistent Places sounds more like a familiar chord played in a new inversion - a modern rock sound that plays with classic jazz and Latin roots in an organic and effective manner. There's a quality of immediate recognition to the sounds on display, but also a sense of newness and individuality that signals the brain that though the concepts are familiar, the combinations and permutations feel refreshingly new and enjoyable. Perhaps Salvatore Marrano's high register comes across as the coziest aspect of the music, drawing immediate similarities to Circa Survive's Anthony Green and causing a bit of preparatory effect for the experimentation contained within by association.

Though, in all honesty, it's quite hard to say that there's any sort of jarring moment on Maps of Nonexistent Places. For all of the mashing of guitar mastercraft ("My Famed Disappearing Act"), instrumental brass-string exchanges ("Suspicious Waveforms"), and bass of the most classically jazzy degree (pretty much every track), everything is buttery smooth. To say that's exceptional is a massive understatement, and to say there's very little Thank You Scientist can do to improve is an absolute credit to the musicianship of this spectacular septet and every bit indicative that they should be an absolute pleasure to observe as they develop over time. Get in on the ground floor now or kick yourself later.

Recommended Tracks:
"Blood on the Radio"
"My Famed Disappearing Act"
"A Salesman's Guide to Non-Existence"



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user ratings (124)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Oh my science!...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2014


2003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Saw these guys live and they were absolutely stunning. Felt compelled to write a review, even though Calc's is probably better.

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places

SnakeDelilah
September 28th 2014


7850 Comments


That violinist is an absolute fucking beast.


They're coming out with a new album this year, too.

Digging: Sun Kil Moon - Benji

DinosaurJones
September 28th 2014


491 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A band that gave me an immediate boner upon seeing them live. And as there are no female members, and I am a heterosexual male, that is quite the achievement.

ExplosiveOranges
September 28th 2014


3130 Comments


A 4.8 out of 5? Damn. Great rev, Thompson.

Digging: Winterfylleth - The Divination Of Antiquity

RivalSkoomaDealer
September 28th 2014


843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cant wait to see em open for Coheed on the IKSSE3 tour.

Digging: Submotion Orchestra - Alium

SnakeDelilah
September 28th 2014


7850 Comments


You will not be disappointed.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2014


2003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Thanks! They were awesome opening for Coheed. Really cool and humble dudes to talk to after the show as well.

SnakeDelilah
September 28th 2014


7850 Comments


Where did you go see them?

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2014


2003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Philly at the Tower. It was awesome.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2014


28629 Comments


showed up too late to se them last night but coheed said some nice words and man


coheed is so aawesom

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Veldin
September 28th 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wait, has the reissue of this been released? Excellent review, mate! Such a FUN album.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

ProjectFreak
September 28th 2014


1407 Comments


I feel obligated to listen to this, forget my 2014 backlog.

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Absent Sounds

GreyShadow
September 28th 2014


468 Comments


such a good album. "Feed The Horses" has been my jam

Calc
September 28th 2014


12249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

did u preorder the vinyl atomic?

Digging: Milo - A Toothpaste Suburb

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2014


2003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Nah, but I bought it at the show and got it signed by the band. Like I said, they're pretty cool dudes.

Edit: i.e. which means I have it since I guess they're selling it on the tour before "official" release.

hortanz
September 28th 2014


183 Comments


oh, I heard these guys on the radio once. cool! I live in NJ, my college's station played a song by them,
though I can't recall the name. I thought about them the other day

Calc
September 28th 2014


12249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awwww lucky...

RVAHC13
September 29th 2014


550 Comments


This looks very interesting, I'm going to check this out as soon as I can

Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

greencorn5
September 29th 2014


210 Comments


I found out about this band like a month or 2 ago. I bought the ep after listening to "Leave the Light On" The Re-release of this one comes out tomorrow, I'm buying it. I hope they get some exposure on here, they are a really great band.

Ecnalzen
September 29th 2014


6684 Comments


I think I love this...

But I'm unsure at the moment.



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