Horace Walpole, the 18th century English writer/historian/politician, oh-so-properly pointed out that “this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.” Walpole had a point, as those who are bound by the heart are usually more prone to the pathos that life dishes out.
Milwaukee’s Into Arcadia have transformed their fair share of dark days into earnestly exuberant songs, rooted in tragedy, yet propelled by a sound that is anything but dreary. Their five-song EP Maps for Children, according to Otto Ohlsson (vox, guitar), was based on his childhood experiences growing up in Manchester, England. The title, Ohlsson explains, comes from “the struggle between childhood’s innocence and the corrupting nature of coming of age;” Ohlsson added that the band doesn’t plan to dwell on this theme for the duration of their musical careers, and that he believes that their next writing ventures will be “more upbeat … more dance-y.”
Whatever direction the future holds for Into Arcadia, their debut EP is a pretty study in absolution from past wrongs, with beautiful driving guitars from Ohlsson and Kenny Buesing solidified by Wes Falk’s bass and Zac Weiland’s percussion. Joy Division, Doves, The Fall and early Coldplay are all familiar sounds for Maps for Children. “Time is no best friend of mine,” Ohlsson sings on “Distance Equals Time,” guitars chiming and percussion punching the wall of lyrics built to give the songs strength, even in their vulnerability. What would Walpole say about what the world holds for those who think and feel after hearing this record?