Maus Haus | Lark Marvels
Most Likely To: turn a stockpot full of influences into a tasty gumbo.
San Franciscan sextet Maus Haus show off their potential with their 12-track debut, Lark Marvels. Finding a way around the hum-drum, their debut album is a catchy combo of fringe genres present and past. Maus Haus’ conglomeration of sixties rock guitar, indie pop tempos, and avant-garde construction, make their songs starkly innovative and ambient. Lark Marvels is different, but in a good way, keeping its listeners in suspense at all times.
Putting its best foot forward, Lark Marvels begins with the alternatingly frenzied and chilled out “Rigid Breakfast.” Starting things off on a series of single notes, the track’s initial sound is like a more substantial twist on intro tracks by The Killers or New Wavers like Devo. Oscillating wildly between lounge music and 1960s psychedelia, Maus Haus’ juxtaposed approach meshes flawlessly with their expressed disapproval of and frustrations with complacency and norms.
“Secret Deals,” with hints of minimalist acid jazz, blooms into a rhythmic decoupage of claps, drums, and percussion. Like an art rock take on one of Rage Against the Machine’s singles, Lark Marvels’ second track screams urgency despite its lyrical brevity. Turning towards a more traditional format, “We Used Technology (But Technology Let Us Down)” has a pervasive backbeat that flashes back to The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” or Camera Obscura’s “Eighties Fan.” Like Warhol’s Velvet Underground or the more recent Yo La Tengo, “We Used Technology” is reserved and melodic, its clutter free duration bringing the band’s lyrical commentary to the forefront. “We need to feel the warmth of the sun / We need a friend but there’s no one / In touch but we’re still alone / Heartbeats against the metronome.”
Lark Marvels’ fourth prog-rock ballad, “Radio Dial Dies,” is reminiscent of Deerhoof’s Friend Opportunity with its drum machines, repetition, and strategically placed static. Maus Haus’ prog-rock jazzy goodness progresses into “Reactions,” followed by the album’s longest track, “Irregular Hearts.” Similar to Throw Me the Statue’s “Yucatan Gold,” “Irregular Heartbeats” is staccato and low-fi before blossoming into a quasi-instrumental number in the fashion of Black Moth Super Rainbow.
The album’s final songs, like “Tumbling” and “Dead Keys Drop,” play back messy and percussive, making it clear that Maus Haus possess the same brand of genius that fueled Q & Not U. Creatively risky though successful in its unique approach towards indie rock, Lark Marvels has the perfect ratio of the edgy and familiar, seducing listeners into an instant love affair with Maus Haus.
Listen to “We Used Technology (But Technology Let Us Down)” from Maus Haus: