Album review: "A Thousand Heys"
Maybe there’s a rupture in the space-time continuum because, somehow, Britain in the ’10s is producing some of the best ’90s American indie rock. Mazes joins Yuck, Let’s Wrestle and Male Bonding in a crop of young bands that have brought a fresh take to the slackened Stateside sound of two decades ago.
The quartet can do it potent and punchy, with songs such as “Go-Betweens” and “Most Days” wrapping up within two minutes, recalling some of the more pogo-worthy moments in the Superchunk catalogue. But the band’s debut album, “A Thousand Heys,” is a mostly casual affair, on which winding lead guitar lines wrap around fuzzy riffs and singer Jack Cooper paints mini-portraits of laid-back living.
The guitar interplay between Cooper and Jarin Tabta is the focus of the album, but it’s never self-indulgent. Moments of minor splendor, not grandiosity, are the band’s primary interest. Many songs sound perpetually on the verge of liftoff but stay grounded and are all the better for it: The vocal twists on “Boxing Clever” add more character than a simple supercharged chorus.
A line on standout “Cenetaph” best captures the mood of the album: “Gambling on the drops of rain / That slip and slide across my window pane,” Cooper offers in his appealingly sleepy speak-sing. It’s the little things.
— David Malitz, June 17, 2011