Mazes stay true to its name on their latest effort, A Thousand Heys. Upon listening, you may feel a tad confused at the overall sound. On the one hand, it’s a raw production, packaged with lackadaisical lyrics and easy pop-punk melodies. Yet underneath it all, there are some delicate and delightful moments that run in from left field.
Without knowing Mazes is a UK export, you would probably peg them as descendants of Wavves or even fellow international rockers Yuck, two recent acts who have recently tugged back the genres of surf and alt. rock, respectively. However, unlike their predecessors, this release is hard to classify as a genre of its own. Is it punk? Is it alternative? Pop even? Without a doubt, the first single, “Most Days”, is strictly punk, but coupled next to the retro glimmering “Surf and Turf” or the softer, ill-titled “Bowie Knives”, it leaves listeners scratching their heads at what sound this band represents.
Musically, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but what is these days? On the whole, Mazes do find ways to blend together fuzzy guitar and half assed, satirical lyrics, which admittedly makes for an amicable second listen. Once listeners make sense of the 29-plus minutes here, they may have found some hidden gems. “Vampire Jive” and “Eva” combined add up to just over a minute and a half, but offer the most tender moments on the album. The album’s closer, and longest track, “Till I’m Dead” features some heavy rock and punk riffs but chugs too long and misses the station. In hindsight, it’s as if its sole purpose is to move this past EP territory, which it skates on anyhow.
Conceptually, this album is a short burst of energy; a snapshot of a band that’s trying damn hard to find its identity. This works sometimes. On A Thousand Heys, however, it’s an unsuccessful attempt. It’s a out of focus Polaroid, a soggy Pollock demonstration, or, to stick with the name, an unfavorable maze. Given its short time, it’s unlikely you’ll write home about this one.