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Music Review

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Map of the Past (2012)
(2021 Reissue)


Artist: It Bites
Label: InsideOut Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 07 May 2021

It Bites's fifth studio album, Map of the Past, originally released in 2012, has been given a remastered reissue, with the album available on new CD and Vinyl formats. The CD edition also includes 2 bonus tracks as well as an additional booklet of liner notes written by the band. The vinyl arrives as a Gatefold 180g 2LP+CD set including an LP-booklet and the bonus tracks on the CD. Map of the Past was the first concept album of It Bites's twenty-five year career. It explores the theme of the past, as seen through old family photographs...

After their impressive 2008 album, The Tall Ships, it would be another four years until It Bites released their fifth and final studio album, Map of the Past. It was a bit of a disappointment to see that the group appeared to take a bit of a step backwards. The songs aren't as well polished, the music doesn't stay with you, and there's more of an emphasis on using slightly cheesy sounding synth sounds.

The idea, on paper, sounds interesting: that each of the album's tracks explores the past through family photographs... But it's not one that translates very well and it's not overly obvious that this is what ties the album together.

On the first play through I wasn't overly impressed. While it did have the odd moment - 'Map of the Past' is on a par with their previous album's output - the majority of the tracks didn't seem to live up to what had come before. But the more I relistened to the album the more I started to enjoy it. While it's not as good as The Tall Ships, it's not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination.

Other highlights include the quirky 'Cartoon Graveyard' and 'The Last Escape', which is very similar in style to The Tall Ship's 'For Safekeeping'. Once again it opens with John Mitchell and a piano before slowly bringing in the rest of the band.

Sadly, yet again, the two weakest songs are the two bonus tracks. But fans will relish the chance to hear them.


Nick Smithson

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