Mazes - A Thousand Heys - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mazes - A Thousand Heys

by Miz DeShannon Rating:9 Release Date:2011-04-11

A 13 track album is almost unheard of these days. "I remember when I was a kid" etc etc... But with half of the songs on Mazes' debut A Thousand Heys being 2.5 minutes or less, the whole thing is only just about half-an-hour's worth of simple guitar riffs, punk-pace drumming, and smiley top-notes instead of the heavy fuzzy bass I'm usually drawn to.

Songs like 'Go Betweens' and 'Surf & Turf / Maths Tag' evoke memories of those 90s American bands, the ones who sat on the pop side of grunge, singing songs about peaches (find 'Bowie Knives') and other such Californian niceties, bearing no resemblence at all to the funk/soul of the band's (near) namesakes Maze. There can be certain comparison drawm between Mazes' sound and influences which everyone hangs on at the moment, various Beach Boys analagies, and comparisons to the lo-fi sounds of Best Coast or Frankie Rose. I lost count of the number of bands I could cite likenesses to on 'Most Days' with its surfy vocal harmonies and 'Summer Hits' with its massively predictable guitar intro.

Fans of BJM and early Dandy Warhols might like the mostly instrumental 'Wait Anyway' and 'Boxing Clever' - there's more dirge on the bass and a definite stoner-rock vibe. Although the latter does have an interesting ghostly minute-long outro. This just adds to the variety of influences in the album though. Despite this all sounding potentially negative, the album is really well compiled. For instance, the way harmony-filled and sunny (but too short) 'Vampire Jive' goes into the short poem that is 'Eva' (which seems like a hungover string of random thoughts) then into the heavy drums and repetitive yet hooky 'No Way' is great.

It's all brought together by the vocal; single 'Cenetaph' has that recogniseable Cooper sound, climbing octaves beautifully and with absolute ease as though he's still so amazingly happy to be a lead singer. Jack's very American sounding voice consistently haa good range; he's got the rare ability to show strength or softness without any sense of forcing either extreme. But I'm not sure the single is the best song on the album. Then again, I'm not sure which one is the best song on the album.

'Death House' is a nice example of Mazes in melancholic mode, and a more laid back and delicate sound to the vocals, and a bit of that stoner vibe coming out again. There's so much variety in here, typified in the last song, track 13 (unlucky for some), 'Til I'm Dead', a three-part song with a dirgy rock intro and a folk-country outro, which is so delayed it's almost a secret 'extra track' after a 10 second gap from the happy surfy middle.

There's definitely some musical intelligence behind the simplicity of A Thousand Heys, The band have gone for well-blended quantity as well as quality with this debut, and it's one of the best I've heard in a while.

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