MAZE - Self-Titled

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It's been a while since I've featured a Lumpy Records release on the channel. I'm pretty sure the last one I posted on here was Fried E.M. (https://friedem.bandcamp.com/releases), and that album came out nearly three years ago. Since then, the STL-based label has maintained a stellar output of lesser-known punk greats, including the likes of Cruelster, Plastic, Warm Bodies, The World, The Natural Man Band, and even a brand new 7" from the ever-enigmatic Q. And among these grade-A releases, lies an 12" from a new-found favorite of mine: Japan's M.A.Z.E. Err, "Maze", as this particular album puts it. I discovered this band when a friend sent me a copy of the band's most recent tour tape, which was distributed during the group's U.S. tour with BB Eye (https://bbeye.bandcamp.com/). That tape is so goddamn good -- in all honestly I'd probably be posting that instead, if it wasn't for the fact that it's already uploaded on the site. But you can still check it out here: https://m-a-z-e.bandcamp.com/album/tour-tape

This particular record was released in April of this year, though the original recordings date all the way back to 2017, when these six songs were first released in the band's demo tape alongside some live recordings, which didn't make their way onto this vinyl. These tracks have since been remastered by none other than Ian Teeple of the aforementioned Warm Bodies/The Natural Man Band, refining the band's post-punk radiance to an ear-caressing brilliance. For a Lumpy Records release, this EP takes on a tonality that's unique from the rest of the catalog. While simplistic and stylistically minimal, Maze's self-record presents a discernibly brisk, calculated form of punk expression, counterbalanced with a pop-like buoyancy and new-wave-tinged peculiarities. While featured songs like "You Can't Win" and "I'm Grey" -- both of which veering into somewhat familiar-sounding punk territory, albeit heavily disjointed by angular, syncopated rhythms and delicate guitar utterances --, Maze innovates on that blueprint with a generally dream-like luster, utilizing a sparse, melancholic, yet-upbeat melodiousness that enlivens the senses just as much as they deaden. It presents an atmosphere that's a pleasure to listen to on any given day; overcast, sunlit, or otherwise.

TRACK LIST:
I'm Grey - 0:00
Join The LCD - 2:17
Eight Channels - 4:14
She Left This Town - 5:50
You Can't Win - 7:59
The Cobwebs - 8:41

SUPPORT: https://lumpyrecords.com/shop?olsPage=products%2Fmaze-12
https://m-a-z-e.bandcamp.com/album/d-e-m-o-l-i-v-e
DOWNLOAD: https://www.mediafire.com/file/beklcc5ajhe6peb/Maze.zip/file

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