Friday, June 5, 2009

The Lost Cartographers - 'Walk On'

Chicago's indie rock scene is no stranger to Americana influences, and The Lost Cartographers are one of the newest local acts to explore the sound, making bittersweet, nostalgic music that summons thoughts of country towns and railroad tracks. The band recently completed their debut LP, Walk On, a strong collection of 10 original songs built on a solid alt-country foundation. What's most refreshing about the group's debut, though, is that it proves they aren't content to stick to a single formula. It isn't rare for Americana-influenced records to sound overly sleepy and samey, but Walk On makes it clear the quintet are forging a more diverse path. From the upbeat, poppy opening title track to the slightly psychedelic vibe of closing song "Golden Record," the band keep their sound fresh and avoid settling into a rut. Along the way they serve up American noir ("Hudson River Teenage Blues"), hoedown fun ("Goodbye Ohio"), classic storyteller country ("Big Old House") and simple sweetness ("Proposal"). Lead singer Gabrielle Schafer adds significantly to the material's charm with a pure, warm delivery that accentuates the expressive lyrics of principal songwriter Aaron Rester. The result is a memorable debut that will appeal to more than just fans of Americana and suggests a promising future.

Walk On is currently available here, and the band will play an official release show for the album at Morseland (1218 W. Morse) on Friday, June 19 (10 p.m., $5 cover).

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