"I Have Laid in the Darkness of Doubt" - Mazes
For better or worse, we live in expansive musical times. Back in the 20th century, which some of you may remember, a band would work hard (or, maybe, not so hard) at being successful, and usually not succeed. That much hasn't changed. Sometimes, when a band was very successful, one of the members might form an offshoot, a so-called "side project," for a variety of reasons, but the starting point was that the original band had gained some traction, was relatively well-known. A side project would often arise, in fact, as a way of giving less involved members of an established band a chance to be leader. Today, side projects sprout like dandelions in the indie music meadow. Bands with little or no widespread recognition routinely spawn side projects, sometimes more than one.
I am not judging this, just pointing out the change. People seem genuinely to have more music coming out of them than hours in the day, and obviously more ways than ever to record and distribute it. And if there had been some small-minded, last-century-oriented part of my brain that did want to judge this phenomenon, it has been silenced once and for all by Mazes, a side project of the worthy but not very well-known Chicago band the 1900s (previously featured on Fingertips in 2007, by the way). Edward Anderson and Caroline Donovan from that band have joined up with Charles D'Autremont to form the trio Mazes, and the result here is a gorgeous bit of sturdy, sort-of-lo-fi Americana tinged unexpectedly with gospelly overtones. "I Have Laid in the Darkness of Doubt" floats along with a backwoods sort of poise, picked and strummed and percussed on top of what surely sounds like a chorus of crickets, in no hurry to go anywhere, without even a chorus to distract us. Every time I listen I'm surprised how quickly it's over.
This is one of 11 songs on Mazes' self-titled debut CD, scheduled for a March release on Parasol Records. MP3 via the Parasol site.