Feature: Albums that time forgot – IT BITES – Map Of The Past

IT BITES - Map Of The Past

Inside Out (2012) www.itbites.com

The second (and final) album released by the reformed It Bites, that saw John Mitchell (Arena, Kino) take over from Francis Dunnery in fronting the band. John Beck (keyboards) and Bob Dalton (drums) remained from the band’s original line-up with bassist Lee Pomeroy completing the line-up.

It was touted as the band’s first concept album, “inspired by the discovery of an old family photograph…a highly personal journey that explores love, passion, jealousy, anger, remorse and loss through the eyes of a previous generation against the backdrop of Britain as it enters a new century and one of the most defining periods of its history.”

‘Map Of The Past’ was more progressive and less of an instant hit than their comeback album ‘The Tall Ships’, as the band found their musical feet so to speak.

Songs like ‘Cartoon Graveyard’ (with its superbly catchy chorus featuring lots of guitar and keyboard runs) and ‘Wallflower’ have a fast and melodic pace to them. The former was released as a single with accompanying video featuring a food fight which must have been fun to be in!

‘Meadow And The Stream’ sounds like It Bites meets Kino, although that’s hardly surprising given the shared members in both bands. If bands like It Bites could still have hit singles then this would be one.

Both John Mitchell and John Beck have some excellent guitar and keyboards interplay respectively throughout the album. Their playing complements each other’s well, with a tight rhythm section keeping the songs strongly anchored.

The ELO/Jeff Lynne approved strings that usher in ‘Send No Flowers’ are simply immense and lead into a reflective song with a stop/start vocal. This song alone is worth getting the album for.

‘Map Of The Past’ succeeded in keeping much of the It Bites sound of the past, whilst adding in ideas from the John Mitchell era of the band.

They toured the album in 2013, however since then they have been inactive although John Beck has guested on one of John Mitchell’s Lonely Robot albums and they have played a few shows as an acoustic duo.

In May 2019, Bob Dalton announced the apparent end of the band on Facebook, stating “unfortunately It Bites won’t be touring or gigging again, we don’t have any plans for anything else in the future but it was a great time and we do appreciate all of you who have followed us through the years.”

However, a few days after Dalton’s announcement John Mitchell revealed that neither he nor John Beck had been consulted about dissolving It Bites, and that even if the band had split up he might still continue working with Beck. Whether we will see another album under the It Bites name remains to be seen, however ‘Map Of The Past’ is an album seeing them sign off on at the top of their game.

By Jason Ritchie

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