MAPS. – Model American

Model American

MAPS are a dearly departed hardcore band from that great punk rock town of San Francisco. Members went on to be in the Nerve Agents and the Distillers, a band who is currently enjoying some commercial success. Its safe to say that MAPS never had any ideas of being marketable; these guys have hardcore in their hearts and it shows in this discography. The group disbanded in 1999 after they were sued by a man who claimed to own the trademark to their name, Model American. Hardcore bands don’t have any money for such frivilous things as court battles so the band decided to call it quits and take on other endeavors. This record is released under the name MAPS, or Models American Playing Secretly, a moniker the band used when playing places where they had been banned. At any rate, this is a collection of all their recorded material, and it goes to show just how good of a band Model American was.
In the opening verse of “We’ve Had Enough,” singer Tim Pressley bellows, “I’ve seen too much / These negative ways / Attitudes start shaping / Values astray / It’s time to start thinking / Using our minds / Sticking together / Willing to fight”; these lyrics pretty much sum up Model American’s message of giving empowerment to the disenfranchised. The album’s second song, “Time Will Tell,” is my favorite track here as it starts of with a guitar melody that, somewhere in my mind and punk rock conditioning, came to embody the sound that I identify with hardcore. The songs “Don’t Give Up,” “Us vs. Them,” and “Never Forget” are all circle pit-inducing, fist-raising anthems to the max.
One thing that is lacking with many hardcore bands today is a sense of history. When some people talk about old-school hardcore, they mean stuff like Bane or Ten Yard Fight, and while those bands do embody some original hardcore spirit, they weren’t around in the early 80s. Model American shows off their historical appreciation by covering Seven Seconds, Bad Brains, and the Adolescents; all great covers, especially the Seven Seconds song, “Die Hard Youth.” This being a discography, there are also a couple of live tracks from a Gilman St. show tacked onto the end.
Model American made hardcore music, plain and simple. Alot of people say hardcore is repetitive, and its hard to argue that its not. There aren’t any uber-technical solos or super-intelligent, metaphysical lyricism, but what hardcore brings to the table is spirit. A good hardcore band makes you pump your fist and think for yourself without such musical tools. Model American was a damn fine band, and more people should know about their music.