Map of the Universe

Local band Map of the Universe hit the South Florida scene in late 2005, after Ed Artigas and Ivan Marchena's band (acclaimed local act Bling Bling) called it quits. Along with drummer Johnny Calderin, they started gigging all over the tri-county area, spreading some righteous hooks and melodies while releasing two singles in 2006. But then, in early 2007, they did what a lot of bands do. They took time off. Many fans thought of that as a load of suck. However, these guys are proving they won't stay quiet for too long. With Calderin's departure from the band, Artigas moved to drums, making space for bassist Mike Alen (formerly of Secret Service and Nobuhjest) to join the group and keep this three-piece alive and tight. On the band's latest EP, Curse in Reverse, Ivan's guitar work continues to find the balance of postpunk and California dreaming that makes Map of the Universe accessible beyond the shoegaze crowd. Consider it a tropical power-pop speedball. The disc's opening track, "The Cop," is a sinister little swamp-punk number à la Cramps and the Buzzcocks, keeping things dirty and fun. "Animal Peace" revs 'em up to more metallic surf-punk areas without sacrificing Ivan's great vocal work: rough-edged sweetness. They close the EP with the tune "Social Royal," which sounds like a slow, sludgy train rolling through rock and roll city. Naturally we can all look forward to a full-length.

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Abel Folgar