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Lumpy Records
18th June 2021

Michael's Pick

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Oh Maze, where have you been all our lives? Maze or M.A.Z.E. are a Japanese post-punk group that sound like *deep breath* tense af Devo covers by Erase Errata schooled by Delta 5 or Yummy Fur as listened to by Deerhoof through the speaker of a Fisherprice toy covered in the Glucose run-off from a day glo ice cream parlour that’s abandoned only to leave all the ice cream and slushies to spill out onto a very hot, steaming Tokyo street. I’m not sure if the group are from Tokyo, should just put that in there.

It’s so much breakneck fun that it’s over before it’s begun, so you just have to throw that needle back to the start, right? Staccato rhythms that break out into hyper-fast 16-bar disco beats, blasts of power chord distorto-guitar that could be lifted from an early Buzzcocks 7″ before being obliterated by some wild guitar choice or Eriko’s jumpy, nervy vocal delivery that’s half-spat, half sardonic a la The Plastics. The group are not without hooks though. Far from it: Tetsuya’s guitar playing is a joy through-out, whether it’s a two note guitar solo or slashed, strangled chords bursting into panicked high fretwork, it’s just constant, utter fun.

I’m reminded a lot of those early 00s bands on labels like Load who took the promise of post-punk to extremes, like Numbers or Erase Eratta but M.A.Z.E. have an utterly joyuous approach to the music, reigning in the more extreme parts of it into razor-sharp punk diamonds brimming with excitement. It’s like a colossal sugar rush from a drink you really, really shouldn’t be drinking but you’re gonna anyway.