Review: Mazes – Ores and Minerals
Published on March 14th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
…on which this Manchester lot take a bold leap forwards in a manner that reminds of Alfie on Do You Imagine Things? and Cloud Nothings on last year’s Attack on Memory. This is at least the impression straight from the off, with “Bodies” sounding like some utterly engrossing cross between the former’s “People” and the latter’s “Wasted Days”. It’s got twiddly psych lead guitar, a burning sort of driving intensity, nice things like that, and then “Dan Higgs Particle” spins another excellent melody over some nicely staggered drums to redouble, even at a third of the running time of “Bodies”, the assurance of good things to come from Mazes’s second album Ores and Minerals.
The charming swagger of “Sucker Punched” hits those psych-pop sweet spots like a blissful union (yes we know this is the same construction just reworded) of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Martin Carr, its refrain of “you hit me like a freight train” a winner all ends up. It then delivers a chorus that blossoms into pure liquid sunshine, confirming it for Rocksucker as one of the songs of 2013 thus far.
“Bite” is certainly invested with its titular quality, chugging that mute guitar as good ideas fall all around it, while the guitar and vocal layout of “Skulking” reminds of the great Stephen Malkmus line “Pardon my birth, I just slipped out” from Pavement’s “Folk Jam”. There are gorgeous instrumental interludes along the way, a moment of sinister splendor reminiscent of Simian pre-Mobile Disco in “Jaki”, and a shuddering slice of loveliness to end with in, er, “Slice”: basically, Ores and Minerals is a ruddy fine album.
Oh yeah, and dig that rocking two-note Flaming Lips bass line on the title track! Consider that exclamation mark a command on our part. In fact, we’re going to have to soften our stance on the proliferation of Google-unfriendly band names, because one or two of them are turning out to be really quite good. Mazes’s 2011 debut A Thousand Heys was pretty good in a lyrical, fuzzy kind of way, but this follow-up is a brilliant bolt from the blue. Where will Mazes lead us next? All of a sudden, Rocksucker can’t wait to find out.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Ores and Minerals is out now on Fat Cat Records. For more information, please visit fat-cat.co.uk/site/artists/mazes