No management. No rules and no regulation. If you like the sound of that you’ll love Mazes’ February release of their second album, Ores and Minerals. The album could be best described as a more polished and a more thought out take on their first release. But it is still perfectly rough, uncut and unfinished by the band with no manager.

As the album title suggests, the album isn’t smooth and perfect, in fact it’s really quite far from it. The LP still sounds raw, unedited and very fresh. Perhaps this comes from the bands decision to produce the album themselves. On the other hand, it starts to take on a sort of “teenagers in a garage” sound, which is coarse and unhinged if not a little tinny.

Warming songs take on life with pleasantly distinctive vocals. But at times there seems to be an all too heavy bass line smothering the vocals. And when the vocals can seem the best part of the track, they can sometimes leave you feeling frutrated. It can all sound a bit grizzly and overwhelming and a longing for their last album – which had a happy -go-lucky aprroach – comes crashing in. Take us back to the American 90’s indie loving days, please.

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The awkward indie album is full of catchy little tunes and hypnotic lyrics. Although it can sound as if the band is trying to be something they simply are not, trying maybe to mature before their time. They aren’t the first to make songs like this, and more than likely they will not be last. The album isn’t over-processed which is a treat as it remains ethically bound to it’s authenticity. However, it sometimes feels like the sound is forced to be just a wee bit too ‘out there’ making it sound a bit haberdashery and thrown together.

The album starts with Bodies which is a healthy 7 minute long track, but progresses to an even better; Skulking. If any one song had to be a hit on the album, unquestionably it would be this one. Listening to it once, forces you to listen to it on repeat in your head for the rest of the day. In fact, I’m listening to it right now. The emotional rollercoaster of the album brings a peaceful end though, in the form of Slice.

The band that is signed to Fat Cat, fit in perfectly with their sister acts, such as Frightened Rabbit. If you like bands such as ‘Frabbit’ and their unpolished sounds, it is quite likely you’ll love Mazes.

The band’s guitars are taking on some fresh, progressive sounds, which might scare some but Mazes probably knew that. So if you are looking for an enjoyable challenge for your headphones, giving Ores and Minerals a shot is an absolute necessity.

By Rachel Campbell

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