BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Helmed by singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Levine, NYC’s Mappa Mundi is as unconventional as their name implies. A mix of chamber pop and the occasional robust revelry, the six songs on this sophomore EP At Sea offer a remarkable collision of tone and texture that casts its foothold in Levine’s generally downtrodden perspective.
Somber at times, but rarely sedate, it unfolds as a series of intensely personal love songs detailing the trials and travails that accompany most romantic relationships. Levine sounds despondent throughout these circumstances, as indicated on the forlorn “Lost” in particular. Yet even though he’s given to despair, his sentiments seem to be in the right place. “If he loves you like I love you, it’s alright by me,” he insists, offering more than a hint of magnanimity on the aching break-up ballad “Right.” Nevertheless, it’s the sweeping melodies — courtesy of the nine piece ensemble that incorporates trumpet, violin, cello, harmonium and more — that take precedent here, from the emotional incantations of “A Blunt Object, Oh Robert” to the suddenly frenzy and flashpoint of “So Obscure.”
A sumptuous set of songs, At Sea is, in a word, sublime.
DOWNLOAD: “Right,” “”A Blunt Object, Oh Robert”