Mazes

Ores & Minerals

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Their debut established Mazes' sound as an indie rock band with a fondness for power pop, but for their follow-up, the London group spread their arms open wide to invite in a wealth of influences and blossomed into a uniquely special band. Leading up to the release of Ores & Minerals, singer/guitarist Jack Cooper explained that a new appreciation for Krautrock had played a big part in the making of the album. With Can being a near-constant reference point for bands and hipsters alike, that type of statement usually foreshadows a lackluster impression of Motorik rhythms, but instead of losing track of their initial vision, Mazes carefully incorporates slight details, like one-string bends or a chugging beat without letting any single stylistic idea dominate their songs. Angular guitar interplay and circular syncopation play a large part now, but never to the point that a song feels disjointed. Instead, everything flows naturally. The ghosts of Clor or aspects of Field Music can be heard in the London group's winding, quirky melodies, interweaving instrumentation, and geometric song structures. However, the songwriting is articulate and purposeful. Even when there are unpredictable spikes and shifts, the album feels breezy, subtle, and very accessible. Contradictory feelings dominate Ores & Minerals more than ever. A song like "Skullking" is filled with so much nervous energy that it is on the verge of spilling over, which is compensated for with the bittersweet calm of "Slice." Meanwhile, the best moments, "Dan Higgs Particle", "Sucker Punched," and the title track "Ores & Minerals," are excellent, sneakily elaborate spins on indie pop, molded around Television-esque guitar interplay. Overall, Ores & Minerals is a showcase of the band's strengths that finds an original band settling in and taking their ideas to the next level of clever.

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