Cartography, the sixth record from Vancouver-based The Buttless Chaps,
balances the sounds developed by the band over its decade-long
existence. Producer Jesse Gander (Ghost House, ex-Operation Makeout)
weaves Ida Nilsen’s vocal and keyboard flourishes into the band’s
alt.country core, though the results are mixed. “Broken Transit, Broken
Soil” and “Coal Grey Sky” are superb songs, and lead singer Dave
Gowans’ deep tenor is reminiscent of Matt Berninger from The National.
But where that band fill out their sonic experiments with hooks that
are infectious without being obvious, several of Cartography‘s tracks
take too long to get anywhere, making what could have been a great
record just pretty good.
This review originally appeared in Eye Weekly.