The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Reviews

Mazes
A Thousand Heys Mof Gimmers , April 12th, 2011 11:39

Mazes, from who cares where and when (really, must all record reviews contain boring information and admin about the band members and geographical location?) have, after something of a breathless wait in certain circles, have finally got ‘round to releasing their debut LP A Thousand Heys. After some limited run 45s and appearances on cassettes (the true geographical location for the group if there were any), Mazes have lived up on the noisenik promise they made with a record that is a marriage of grotrock and luminous pop. This is one melodic LP, not seen since the last time a record surprised us by being stupidly tuneful.

There's an obvious love of Pavement in the album, taking the wonkier bits of Malkmus' trains of thought, however, and perhaps mercifully, eschewing the need for cryptic crossword lyrics. Mazes are pretty happy to tell you a tale without dowsing it in metaphor. Tracks like ‘Surf & Turf', ‘Summer Hits' and ‘Cenetaph' are more contagious than a ward full of mumps. That's a given for an album that's getting a positive review, right? The crucial thing about ‘A Thousand Heys' is that it does that thing that all good indie, punk or rock records should do: It instils that feeling that you could probably make something like it. It's all very well liking an LP for being expertly crafted and otherworldly, but Mazes have harnessed youthful exuberance and chanelled into a bunch of songs that make you want to start a noisy band as soon as humanly possible.

The only tricks in the armoury of Mazes is an obvious and innate pop ability which not everyone owns, especially in the No Fi circles which they reside in. Too often, the slacker production is the gimmick to hook you in, but these uncouth swine haven't forgotten to write some middle eights and decent choruses along the way. This is a group with some busted amps and a glorious will to make a racket.

It's pop for Generation Y, looking back fondly at Generation X, without the beleaguered cynicism of the babyboomer generation. It's a wildly optimistic record that manages to be goofy without veering off into wacky territory. Tales of being lanky and wishing that you'd stunted your growth with cigarettes is shot through a humour seen in bands like The Vaselines at their cheekiest. With that, it is pretty obvious that, if Kurt Cobain were alive, Mazes would have been his favourite pop group.

If Mazes can keep their attention span for long enough, there's a whole bunch of great records to come, which is the greatest gift that rock & roll can give. This sounds for all the world like the start of something for everyone to clutch to their bosoms and call their own, just like those halcyon days when indie music was driven by the sales of 7”in stinkin' record shops up and down the land. This could be the return of that feeling of a band that people can call theirs, mercifully, without all that boozy posturing that blighted music from the mid-90s onward or without that cloying, simpering worthiness of post-millennial stadium indie. Mazes are dole scum, living it up like they're in a Levis ad. Mazes. This could be the start of a great love-affair. Just don't get too famous please.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.