Album Review: Maus Haus’ Light Noise

Maus Haus

Light Noise

Lavish Habits Records

Release Date: October 2, 2012 (digital); October 23, 2012 (physical)

 

Track Listing

1.     You Made My Radar

2.     Where

3.     Hey Jean

4.     Mouth

5.     No More Girls

6.     Nervous Friends

7.     Night Shift

 

Personnel

Joseph Genden

Jason Kick

Sean Mabry

Christopher Niles

 

San Francisco-based band Maus Haus newest effort, Light Noise captures a band that has gone through an extraordinary transition. When the band released their debut effort, Lark Marvels in 2009, the band was a septet but for the new effort, Maus Haus became a quartet with each member playing multiple instruments in a frenetic fashion that is reminiscent of Battles. Over the last couple of years the band has shared stages with an impressive list of artists including Crystal Castles, Dengue Fever, !!!, School of Seven Bells, and the 2010 Treasure Island Music Festival main stage with LCD Soundsystem and Holy Fuck. And if you add the fact that the band has been praised by publications such as SF Weekly and the Deli Magazine, there’s also this sense of a band whose profile is rising …

   Throughout the new album, the band manages to adeptly mix glitchy atmospherics, buzzing synthesizers and guitars with almost mathematically precise drums, lyrics sung with a droll and almost playful breeziness – but there’s an underlying sense of anxious unease and menace to the proceedings, as though you were in an acid trip that had quickly started to spiral out of control. Sonically, the band’s sound has been compared to being a mix of Kraftwerk, the Beach Boys, and Sonic Youth but I’m not quite sure how accurate that really is – unlike Sonic Youth, Maus Haus’ material sounds much more structured and organized. Even when the material leans towards sprawl, it feels tightly controlled. But I kind of get the Beach Boys, if you consider the strange harmonies and the dreamy quality of songs like “You Made My Radar” and “Where.”  “Mouth,” has this section towards the end that is just sparse, twinkling synth, drum beat and bass, and it sounds so much like Kraftwerk that it’s uncanny. “No More Girls,” and “Night Shift” buzz with a sleazy punk rock feel – both emphasis an anxiousness and unease that’s palpable.

   Maus Haus latest effort, Light Noise reveals is a band that excels at crafting a sound that’s both familiar and alien. Songs manage to dart and weave about at different and unpredictable angles while having memorable hooks. It bears a similarity to Interpol’s Antics in the sense that the songs don’t necessarily go about in the traditional and easily recognizable verse, chorus, verse, hook/bridge manner. Songs move about in different, flowing movements. Although seemingly complicated, the band does so in a way that’s deceptively accessible. It’s an impressive effort that burrows into the head and forces repeated listens upon you.