Mazes - Ores and Minerals - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mazes - Ores and Minerals

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2013-03-04

A little research can reveal a lot about a band, so that's what I decided to do before I indulged in Mazes and their sophomore album, Ores and Minerals. Feral in approach, this three-piece are a DIY band in every breath. Ploughing their own furrow and bereft of a manager, they career along in their own world, brushing aside all the common practices typical to modern alternative bands. Well, that's what I have read and why would I believe otherwise?

I always believe you can read a lot into how an album will map out by its opening track. If it doesn't hit home or trigger your pulse to a higher plane, you can find yourself reaching for the stop button far quicker than expected. However, on this occasion 'Bodies' really does smack you right between the eyes. Its upbeat arrangement and driving rhythms are soothed by Jack Cooper's kooky vocal, His approach is definitely 'less is more' and he hardly utters more than a few words, letting the music do the talking in a bold and visceral seven-minute beginning.

There is a distinctly uplifting feel about this album, with an air of skinny minimalism. Mazes see their influences as being all things alt-rock and Krautrock. Guided by Voices and Pavement inform 'Dan Higgs Particle', while Can and Neu! inspire 'Significant Bullet'. The switch from the former to the latter is both beguiling and simplistic, and embraces their eclectic, broadminded approach to their music output.

They apply a dexterous approach on the kooky 'Delancey Essex', but follow it with the twinkling 'Bite'. Sometimes there are shades of what The Beta Band might have gone on to make if self-loathing hadn't got the better of them, with omnipresent shuffling drum patterns best summed up on 'Skulking', a slow burner which than vaporises into a squalling synth and noise.

Mazes are a musical trio, the British equivalent of Yo La Tengo, something no band this side of the pond has been able to pull off successfully. May their reign continue if this is a taster of things to come.

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