A Maze of diversity...
"A Thousand Heys", the debut long-player from London-based quartet Mazes is an album that contains enough youthful exuberance, unrivalled confidence and mature, sophisticated song-writing to grab serious attention, if not from the mainstream, then certainly from within indie circles.
The band's obvious punk and D.I.Y ethos relentlessly shines through on a release that combines short and effortless songs with longer, more experimental tracks, meaning that Mazes are not a band that can be pigeon-holed easily. On any single listen to the album you can pick out the likes of Buzzcocks, Gang of Four and Blur as influences on a band who are unafraid to challenge themselves and their listeners, writing provocative and articulate songs that make you think, laugh or question as well as dance to. It takes some gall to write a song with the lyric 'I get off trains and wave, like The Beatles at JFK...' ('Surf & Turf'), a line loaded with controversy, arrogance and cheek, it seems Mazes aren't scared showing influence but are also unafraid to subvert the status quo.
"A Thousand Heys" is a carefully constructed, controlled and concise assault on the ears, founded on the diversity of the band's ideology and influences. The catchy 'ooh' chorus from album centrepiece, 'Cenetaph', the seasonal anthem 'Summer Hits' and 28 second idea-ridden track 'Eva' are all powerful manifestations of the bands ability to exhibit pop, indie and poetry within the space of the album's relatively short running time, no mean feat for a band as youthful as this one.
Bands that wear their influences on their sleeves as firmly as Mazes do can sometimes be open for critics to rubbish their legitimacy but Mazes acknowledge their heroes and icons with such respect and dedication, that it is hard to dislike them for it. Their brand of melodic and hook-laden music only carries on the tradition of great British song-writing, and should be seen as thoughtful, inventive and well-crafted. Many bands can write pop songs but many lack the enthusiasm, wit and drive that Mazes have in abundance. "A Thousand Heys" is an enthralling listen and is a record to be appreciated. An exuberant soundtrack of what it's like to be young from a band with a maturity far beyond their years.