Mazes: a PULP preview

2017 May 20

Mazes at the Deaf Institute, 19 May 2009

PULP first caught wind of local band Mazes at the recent Sounds From The Other City, Salford’s answer to other citywide music festivals.  The band may still be in its infancy, having played around ten shows and rehearsed around half that, but “that’s a pretty good ratio,” says member Jack.

And we’d be inclined to agree – the band may not seem all that well polished yet, but that is sort of the point. Started as “just an excuse to hang out with my best friends,” the band is most comfortable doing their own thing their own way, and trying to enjoy themselves as much as possible.

Mazes’ music combines a mess of influences, mostly from the schools of skuzzy, lo-fi North American garage rock, along with more than a dash of the jangle and pop of legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun Records.

The recordings currently floating around on the band’s MySpace have a thrillingly raw, organic sound. Fuzzy and indistinct at times, and at others led by soaring guitars and high voices singing simple, cheerful tales of witches and vampires. The brew is topped off with crashing drums and cymbals, and is then squeezed through some combination of pedals into a Tascam 4-track tape recorder.

These elements combine to create dreamy, sweet, two-minute pop songs with a kind of otherworldly feel to them. Says Jack: “The thing that ties the recordings together is a sense of urgency and spontaneity. We’re not interested in overdubs, spending days in a studio or thinking about stuff too much. It defeats the object.”

Having played a series of support slots with various acts in Manchester and London, including heroes Times New Viking, Mazes are gathering momentum in certain circles. Asked if they have felt support from others in their short lifespan: “Yeah I think so… we’ve been welcomed by lots of nice people around the country, especially the people at Sex Is Disgusting and Pens. We owe it all to Pens.” The band also received a warm welcome most recently at the Deaf Institute, opening at the twin matinee and evening shows from Deerhunter.

The sense of urgency in their playing can also be felt in the band’s desire to record, as Jack reveals: “We’ve got an album nearly finished. We live in different cities so it’s tricky recording together, but yeah it’s nearly done.”

With a scattering of dates lined up and that prospect of new recordings, Mazes are definitely ones to watch. For a tantalising taste of the band, head over to their MySpace now and have a listen to their infectious <1 minute pop song Vampire Jive. We think you’ll be hooked… /

Words and photography by Paul Capewell