The Austin Chronicle


By Christopher Gray, February 18, 2005, Music

Turn on the Black Lights

Milton Mapes frontman Greg Vanderpool is a nice guy, soft-spoken, unassuming. His songs, on the other hand, are often bleak ruminations on mankind's innate fallibility. This comes out more than ever on the local roots-rockers' third album, The Blacklight Trap, their first for St. Louis-based label Undertow. TBT was recorded at bassist Britton Beisenherz's studio in Pflugerville. "We were joking that this is our Empire Strikes Back record," says Vanderpool. "It's a little heavier in terms of content." In songs like "Underneath the River Runs," "Craters of the Moon," and "When the Earth's Last Picture is Painted" (based on a Rudyard Kipling poem), Vanderpool uses the rugged imagery of landscapes to play up the conflict between human nature and the natural world. "Without getting too pessimistic, I think we're bound to screw it up," he says. But neither will he abandon all hope. "I see the record as a tunnel," he continues. "It's not always a pretty picture, but there is a light." Look for advance copies of The Blacklight Trap at the band's Cactus Cafe show Tuesday.

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