Music Reviews
A Thousand Heys

Mazes A Thousand Heys

(FatCat) Buy it from Insound Rating - 5/10

These days, when any spotty teenager can make a pretty decent recording with little more than a laptop, a microphone and an unhealthy disdain for their parents, there’s something a little pretentious about the whole lo-fi, DIY-rock sound. You can almost picture the conversation with the A&R guy: “Your shit’s cool, guys, but it’d sound so much more rock ‘n’ roll if we recorded it with a plastic cup and a piece of string!!”.

You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. Four chords per song, vocals low in the mix, and all the ambience of a phone box. There are a few bands who have had plenty of success with little regard for aural niceties - The Sex Pistols and The Ramones are two obvious examples, and more recently bands like The Thermals and Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - but it’s a sound that’s hard to get right unless you’ve got a serious ear for a melody.

Indeed, a few good melodies can often make up for any lack of originality - and Mazes certainly have some of those. Surf and Turf / Maths Tag is one fine example, starting off lazy and laid-back and bursting into life with a rousing chorus. Bowie Knives marries summery chords with whooping falsetto vocals, ending with a particularly pleasing interlude of distorted guitar drones. If there’s one thing Mazes can boast, it’s that they have a knack for a catchy tune.

But by the fifth or sixth track, A Thousand Heys starts to drag. There’s no escaping the fact that although Mazes are quite capable of a good tune, there’s often very little to separate one track from the next. This is bread-and-butter, guitars-and-drums rock and roll - nothing more, nothing less. One track bursts into another with little pause for contemplation, and often very little difference in tempo or rhythm. It then becomes pretty much pot luck with regard to whether the tune is strong enough to hook you in - and more often than not, Mazes fail on that count.