Black Map Driver

2014 Black Map

Car pooling.


Listening to Black Map‘s debut EP is an experience destined to leave more than a few feeling nostalgic. For through the angular riffs, peppy enthusiasm and delicate/defensive vocals; the songs reflect back to an oft overlooked period of time. In particular that brief moment where post hardcore bands like Sense Field, Handsome and Quicksand all seemed poised to break through.

Somehow post hardcore these days has become a bastardized descriptor for groups raised on crabcore and Blink-182. But rest assured Black Map pledge allegiance to the genre’s origins—or at the very least its salad days.

The included pairing of dredg guitarist Mark Engles, Far drummer Chris Robyn and The Trophy Fire‘s Ben Flanagan on bass and vocals found here is a welcome surprise on its own. That they pay heartfelt tribute to a number of bands that never quite made it rather than blatantly try to recreate them is a blessing.

Driver” feels like a love letter written to the CD wallet of younger days. One where the Revelation Records logo likely appeared in more than one sleeve. The standout track “I’m Just The Driver” mines the sensitivity of Far‘s early outings; as heartfelt vocals hold court over propulsive drumming, pensive bass lines and yearning guitar work. Meanwwhile, “Ropes” with its evocative guitars and the slow burn positivity of “Head For The Hills” could have very well been buried alongside some forgotten demos from Rival Schools.

It may appeal to an older age bracket, but “Driver” is a promising work that has the potential to bring back lost memories. It doesn’t attempt anything new. But it certainly respects its roots and shines its light on an area of music that never quite got its due whilst adding a new chapter.

Listen to “I’m Just The Driver“:

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