Saturday, 16 February 2013

Mazes - Ores & Minerals

I interviewed Mazes’ singer, Jack Cooper last August. One thing that stuck out from the conversation was his sentiment that he was aware of what was expected from their sound, and didn’t want to make those songs, even though they were expected to. This album clearly shows a break away from the short, sharp songs found on debut ‘A Thousand Heys’.

Title track ‘Ores & Minerals’ is one of the album’s highlights. The 4 minute long song (most of the songs on A Thousand Heys were under 3 minutes) starts with a reverbed string section layered with voices and noises before a dull machine drum beat kicks in. The song uses short, high guitar notes, similar to previous songs in the album, which is just one feature which makes this album more cohesive than the first.

Other highlights include the laid-back, warm-sounding ‘Jaki’ and ‘Delancey Essex’. The latter has some of the best lyrics on the album; ‘I wanna pin you down again, literally and metaphorically’ proclaims Cooper, in his trademark wistful, Malkamus-like whine.

Overall, ‘Ores & Minerals’ is a more mature and understated album than the first; even the guitar solos are covered in a sort of muted fuzz which weighs them down, and makes them feel quite brooding. It also lacks some of the louder, heavier moments that were present on songs such as ‘Wait Anyway’ on ‘A Thousand Heys’. The songs are longer, too, first track ‘Bodies’ is 6 minutes long and includes a long outro. Perhaps it is these things which mean that it is less immediate. However, despite same slight annoyances (the speaking on some tracks, ‘Leominster’, for example, which break up the atmosphere of the album slightly too much), the album is a cohesive, rewarding listen.


Holly Read-Challen

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