Ores & Minerals has a lot to offer and rewards repeated listening as each layer of each track unfurls before you. What is at first overbearing becomes sumptuous guitar work that is constantly in motion. The title track is the first here that properly hooks you and shows that Mazes are never better than when they restrict themselves – sadly they have tried to do exactly the opposite with their sound here. Largely this is a record built on a foundation of repetition, it’s all loops and drones over which Jack Cooper lays his delicate vocals.
Appreciating what Mazes have tried to do here is about as good as it gets though. They know their sound well and it’s an original sound at that, their rhythm section is unmistakeable and immediately them. Opening track ‘Bodies’ though is the opposite of what I want a song to sound like, right from the first screeched syllable, urgh, it’s still haunting me. It’s all noise and holds nothing on ‘Sucker Punched’ or ‘Delancey Essex’ which is simple, neat, and a damn good track.
Their guitar work is loose and flows continuously and cut with sharp lines like on ‘Bite’ it’s easy to love their fuzzy almost math rock approach to things. That psychedelic bass line is introduced at just the right moment too and demonstrates Mazes knack for melodic structure, but it’s gone too soon which is ironic considering the record itself seems to end about five times before finally concluding. Taken individually the majority of these songs offer you as a listener something unique, but together Ores & Minerals is a record divided.What Mazes are good at and what they want to do are two very different things and it’s a shame because when they get it right such as on ‘Jaki’ it’s delightful. Mazes main problem is they want to do too much and they want to do it all at once (see ‘Skulking’).
Ores & Minerals is a record on which Mazes broaden their horizons, expand their palette, and explore their passions and this comes through in every facet of the record, it just needs refining. Like the Ores & Minerals of the title Mazes have all the right raw materials, but if you want a diamond you need a little polishing.
Ores & Minerals is out now.
- 'Delancey Essex'
- 'Ores & Minerals'