Mazes, long popular on the DIY recording scene, have made their debut album in a 'proper' studio - the 'proper' studio in question being an old lightship moored on the Thames.
Engineer, producer and owner of the lightship (cap'n?) Ben Phillips has, over ten days, helped the band create an album that has a cohesive sound yet retains Mazes' rough edged energy.
The band sound a bit Weezer, especially with Jack Cooper's thin but game vocals thrown over fuzzy guitar; a bit Pavement and, with tracks like 'Most Days' where the faintest subbuteo flick of the bpm settings creates a speedy little number, a bit Buzzcocks.
The track 'Bowie Knives' is a personal favourite and where the Weezer connection is most evident - a sunlit number with lyrics containing cute phrasing spliced with knowing, barbed twists - and while 'Want Anyway' allows the darker tones to encroach with the descending bass line reminiscent of 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', there is a lighter touch to other songs such as the fizzing and melodic 'Go Betweens' (which is the best theme tune Friends never had - fed through a fuzz box) and 'Summer Hits', two minutes of happy-punk complete with a great singalong chorus (a Mazes speciality).
'Til I'm Dead' by contrast, is a bit of a stoner's track, mid paced and meandering and eventually tapering off into silence because writing an ending would be, like, too much of a drag, man, and the slow and insistent guitar twang that underscores the verses to 'Surf and Turf' shows how the band do so much with so little (another Mazes speciality) producing a stripped down, ugly-beautiful sound.
All in all a nice little messy, spiky, punchy album which continues Britain's proud naval tradition of writing lo-fi indie music on boats.