The Memorex Years - Maps 'You Don't Know Her Name'

Here's another guest post that came about as a result of The Memorex Years, and again it was for Sweeping The Nation, as part of their decade-to-date retrospective Noughties By Nature. By this time I wasn't really finding much in the way of 'new' bands that I liked, and Maps were one of the few that did catch my ear. As a consequence there's a bit of sniping at TV talent shows, which I wouldn't neccessarily agree with now, and a bit of sniping at tedious watered down production line 'indie' bands, which I very much would still agree with now. Radcliffe and Maconie were on Radio 2 in the evening at that point, by the way. Very strange to think that needs explaining now...

In this day and age of identikit asymmetrically-haircutted guitar bands who are barely distinguishable from each other (far more so than any X Factor contestant), it's not that easy to find yourself getting very excited about a genuinely 'new' artist. Which is why it's all the more exciting when a record by one such genuinely 'new' artist sneaks up and surprises you in the midst of washing-up-soundtracking Radcliffe & Maconie that you only really had on for This Just In anyway.

You Don't Know Her Name has a solid grasp of what made indie great in the past - it has the moody and malevolent ambience of the sort of record that they stopped making in about 1993 (or, to be more accurate, that Ride, Catherine Wheel and My Bloody Valentine stopped making in about 1993), so much so that you can almost hear Mark Goodier jabbering an endearingly ill-fitting endorsement over the conclusion, and the wobbly intro is uncannily reminiscent of a shaky mispressed 7" bought in Woolworths' bargain bin the week it had fallen twenty places in the chart - but an equally solid grasp of what's relevant now; namely huge anthemic choruses and analogue synths repurposed to sound 'modern'. You get the best of both worlds with this song and it really ought to have followed Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs into the charts and being slapped all over 'tonight... on BBC1!' rundowns.

If you enjoyed this review, you might enjoy Higher Than The Sun - the story of Screamadelica, Foxbase Alpha, Bandwagonesque, Loveless and Creation Records' first attempt at taking on the world - which is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.