It's been a year since 2013's triumphant 'Ores & Minerals' and London based trio Mazes hone in on the best of their craft with 'Wooden Aquarium'; here, the hypnotic motorik rhythms and infectious pop melodies remain firmly intact. Though defying tradition and recording the album completely live in a studio, Mazes have not compromised their lo-fi sensibility as evidenced on their previous two efforts. With the help of Parquet Courts' producer Jonathan Schenke, 'Wooden Aquarium' is probably their most accomplished record to date.
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Customer reviewer Samuel has made my job that bit harder this morning by already pithily summing up what's going on with Mazes' new album in a single sentence. He's bang on the money when he says it "merges the fuzzy indie pop of their debut with the motorik rhythm of their last album". Not that this is a bad thing, of course - their first two LPs are good, and so is 'Wooden Aquarium'.
Their last album 'Ores and Minerals' was a bit of a surprise stylistically when it came out, stretching beyond their Pavement/Teenage Fanclub/Archers of Loaf styled college rock beginnings into driving and repetitive indie-kraut that had more in common with bands like Cold Pumas and Lungfish. Now, as has already been stated, they're headed somewhere down the middle, with bright, summery pop hooks and buzzy guitar tones aplenty in their repetitive mid-paced chug.
In places it has a bit of the jagged jangle of Parquet Courts about it, particularly on tracks like 'Salford' or 'Letters Between U and V', but at other times it's quite dreamy with hazy reverbed guitars and krautrock beats like if Norman Blake did a record with the Warm Digits on the shimmering 'It Is What It Is' and the uplifting 'Stamford Hill', while things get sort of louche and dream-like in the middle for 'Vapour Trails' and 'Ripp'. Great stuff, right up there with the first two.
9/10 Samuel Customer review, 27th August 2014
Mazes worked with Jonathan Schenke (Producer of 'Light Up Gold' and 'Sunbathing Animal') on this seamless third album that perfectly merges the fuzzy indie pop of their debut with the motorik rhythm of their last album ('Ores and Minerals'). The invigorating segue between opening salvo 'Astigmatism' and 'Salford' sets the tone expertly, 'Letters Between U&V' is a hypnotic step up from an earlier version of the track that appeared on their mini-album 'Better Ghosts', whilst elsewhere tracks like 'It Is What Is' and 'Stamford Hill' sparkle as their most catchy moments to date. This record will sit nicely as a slightly more melodic neighbour alongside Parquet Courts and Protomartyr's latest records. Short and sweet, it really does flash by brilliantly!
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