Tuesday 23 October 2012

Early Maze - Sad Lit Skies

Album review by KevW

Those busy bunnies Early Maze return with their third long-player, and second of this year. For 'Sad Lit Skies' the trio stick to their winning formula of space-rock and scuzz-missile infested lo-fi shoegaze, a sound that many are trying to capture with varying degrees of success. Early Maze's proficiency shouldn't be an indication that they're aiming for style over quality; they're one of a handful of bands (including fellow fuzz admirers The Raveonettes) that manage to satisfy our insatiable appetite for noisy rock 'n' roll without compromising when it comes to the tunes. As the feedback that begins 'No Comedown' shifts into the static electric sound of filthy guitars and honeyed melodies you know you can strap yourself in for a ride through Spectorish songs reimagined by The Jesus & Mary Chain. This is going to be another trip through blissful distortion.

You get Spacemen 3 rocking out on the reverberating 'All There', it's similar to Loop's take on that particular brand of drone-rock and is something of a sonic voyage with some blistering guitar. They ease off the gas just a little on 'Like Air' and the chiming 'Bodies', but rather than searching around for ideas this is simply another fully-formed aspect of their music and these more thoughtful tracks are just as strong, delivering their message in a different form. 'On A High' is also more downtempo, the percussion adding a 60s psych feel, and you can be fairly sure Early Maze are well acquainted those pioneers. They're not left wanting on the riff front either; 'What She Said' is basically built around a simple, distorted, repetitive guitar line and it's followed by 'Blind Side', a song that kicks-off with some excellent six-string wrangling, soon to be joined by one of their prominent basslines, maybe the unsung heroes of the album, steadily and robustly holding the whole thing together.

Just when we're starting to think that 'Sad Lit Skies' was beginning to settle into comfortable mid-paced psych, they unleash the most scorching piece of fuzz-rock here, the awesome and sleazy sounding 'Reaction', reminding us that they can create a glorious racket that's up there with the best them. There's no reflective ending or stereotypical album closer, instead Early Maze opt for more dirty guitars, sharp drumming and an ace meandering bassline, combining most of the aspects of the album into one song. What Early Maze are doing isn't new; we've already mentioned 60s psych, Spacemen 3, JAMC, Loop and The Raveonettes as others who have dabbled in similar sounds, but what they are doing is taking the music of these revered bands and using their techniques and styles to add to their own songs, songs which are of a very high quality. Because of this, 'Sad Lit Skies' isn't a new invention, it's an update on past creations, but one that's done with an understanding of exactly where the originators were coming from.

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