Friday, June 3, 2011

"A Thousand Heys" by Mazes

A Thousand Heys was released April 12th on Fat Cat Records
Every now and then, a band comes along that occupies a space neatly between nostalgic and refreshing. Mazes is that band. Recalling the brash alt-rock of the 1990's, Mazes manage to adroitly sidestep the perils that befell 60's throwback band The Redwalls. That is to say, Mazes celebrate the 90's alt-rock without copying and pasting or confining themselves to song and rhythm structures that guide the genre. While calling it truly inventive would be a stretch, Mazes breath new life into the genre and in doing so create a highly-recommendable album.

"I get off trains and wave, like the Beatles at JFK," starts the album's single, "Surf And Turf/Math's Tag." The lyrics, like that, offer a firm thumb of the nose in a deft, concise and raucous way. In fact, if I had to choose only a few words to describe the album, raucous would be first or second on the list. With thumping bass lines and above-the-eighth-fret riff ripping that leads into heavy, crunchy chords for chant-worthy choruses, the band's energy on album approaches live band status. You can tell, for certain, that these guys love what they do, and for the most part they do it with alarming skill.

What is excellent about the band is simultaneously what sometimes falls flat about the album. Their bass driven, distortion drenched songs wear thin after a bit. While there are stand out tracks and a lot of them, certain points in the album tend to drift along with little forward motion. The song structure they excel at can't support itself for the length of the longer album tracks. Of course, the longest track is just over four minutes, but the songs lasting two and a half or three minutes seem to be more purposeful and have a bit more impact than their "epics."

To summarize, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't check out Mazes. Even with its faults and minor drags, I put this album pretty high up on my recommendations list. If you're interested in finding out more, you can get in touch with band directly on their Twitter, their Facebook page and you can check out their back catalog on their Bandcamp. A Thousand Heys is available on iTunes and vinyl at Amazon .

Rating: 8/10
Standout Tracks: Summer Hits Or J Plus J Don't Like, Surf And Turf/Math's Tag, No Way

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