Not to be confused with the 1900s' side project from Chicago, London's Mazes incorporate the brash swiftness of '70s punk, the garagey jangle pop melodies of '80s college rock, and the sly, slacker attitude of '90s indie rock in their music. However, the trick is that they manage to do so without sounding overly derivative. There are definite similarities to the often compared bands Pavement and the Buzzcocks, but Mazes have such an all-encompassing style that they're hard to pigeonhole. Perhaps it's because Jack Cooper, Neil Robinson, Jarin Tabata, and Conan Roberts concentrate on the age-old formula: heartfelt songs with big melodies and introspective, witty lyrics. The singles "'Til I'm Dead" and "Summer Hits or J+J Don't Like" feature simple hooks that are so sunny and classically hummable that a blanket term like power pop totally fits. Certainly, there are inherent lo-fi aspects as well -- a gritty texture, distorted vocals, and a loose, ramshackle home-recording aesthetic -- but Mazes' debut, A Thousand Heys, is cleaner, easier, and more melody-driven than most releases on, say, In the Red or Dirtnap Records.
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