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Maps, the debut EP by pop-punker’s Mixtapes, might not be a groundbreaking album that shatters all previous conceptions of pop-punk, but it is fun. In fact, it may be the most “fun” album to come out in a really long time.
These days, with the over abundance of MySpace music profiles and a new free EP being released just about every day, it is becoming harder and harder to standout as a band. Most musicians these days tend to feel they need to be unique to catch the ear of a new listener, and while that may occasionally work, there’s still a lot more to be said for putting out something quality vs. something different. Sometimes, it’s nice to hear a new version of something you already love. Mixtapes do this perfectly.
Three chord punk, boy and girl vocal harmonization, dance worthy beats, and an overall feel good vibe, Maps is a culmination of everything enjoyable in pop-punk. In standard pop-punk form, Mixtapes moves back and forth between energetic, electric anthems and slower, acoustic ballads. The band tears through 10 songs in 18 minutes opening with a steadily building track, “Sunrise”, which sets the tone for next couple of tracks, building energy until the fist pumping, group sung chorus at the end of the third track, “Nothing Can Kill The Grimace”. If you’re not pounding your steering wheel, middle finger up, singing along to “F*CK! the world, now I feel a little better!…” feeling like you can take on the world, you’re just not listening to this song loud enough.
From this point on the album alternates between the slower, lamenting tunes of the teenage wallflower to energetic, feel good tracks that make sunny days seem all the more brighter. The track The Mixtapes Misplaced Missed Takes is a 44 second sonic party. Guitar thirds open the (early) MxPx influenced track, and it’s a non-stop heart racer while the album closer, “Sunsets” sets a gloomy tune employing female (and last name-less) vocalist Maura’s distraught, yet sweet-sounding voice to tip-toe over palm-muted power chords.
Maps may only be 18 minutes long, but in this case, less is certainly more. Packed full of pleasure, this EP has without a doubt made Mixtapes the band of the summer.