Wednesday 7 December 2016

Review: Cartographs - Armour

The brand new single from Danish hardcore act Cartographs titled “Armour” was launched last month, and is a great example of the progression of the band. With lyrics that each and every one of us could relate to, “Armour” is slow, it's heavy, and it is an unusually patient song — a little bit like a ballad. In its anguish we are shown a raw, emotional side to the band which seems uncharted in comparison to the rest of their not so broad catalogue. It is this patience and grace which serve to highlight “Armour” in stark contrast against earlier Cartographs releases - this is the band reflecting on adulthood, about what it means for all of us, about how all of us need to work harder to get along - and doing it all with elegance. The new single, as a whole, is effective because it is so authentic; nothing forced, nothing rushed, all real. 

Cartographs have reached a balance in their songwriting and their sound wherein they hit harder by saying and doing a little less. This is not to understate the aural assault that is often present on here, but this is a song that finds the band more effectively and accessibly exploring different style than in previous efforts. “Armour” is direct, easily digestible and ceaselessly entertaining. And it rewards repeat listens - Cartographs seem to be treating the idea of the “single” as a form that deserves more reverence. “Armour” uses mechanics to create a dark and foreboding atmosphere, elevating the song artistically and once again separating it from its previous material. 

If this is your first time with Cartographs, or an early experience with hardcore then I suspect you're in for a surprise, which may require a little patience but will amply reward it. “Armour” is an example of a band at the height of their abilities - it’s a single chock-full of audaciousness, ugliness, and bitterness, all of which is well-produced and technically impressive. It is also a tune that shows a group of musicians well-into their lives and careers and ready to shed most of the purposeful immaturity. I wait with bated breath to see what they'll tell us next time.

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