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Album Review

Just under a year after the release of the Mae Shi's debut album, Terrorbird, comes the Heartbeeps EP, which delivers a concentrated blast of the band's hyperkinetic but still strangely accessible noise rock. It's almost as if the Mae Shi got bored with being so restless and needed to bring a little more order to their chaos to keep things interesting. Unlike Terrorbird's sprawling, free-for-all vibe, Heartbeeps is slightly more organized and unified — the "Heartbeeps" interludes that run through the EP give it more structure, even as they recall the "Repetition" suite that closed Terrorbird. Heartbeeps' tracks also feel a little more structured, with recognizable (though not necessarily traditional) song forms; on "Crimes of Infancy," singer Ezra Buchla's gasping attempts to keep up with the rest of the band's frantic time shifts become hooks in their own right. Meanwhile, "The Meat of the Inquiry" and "Eat the Prize"'s rapid-fire bursts of noisy melody (or melodic noise) recall Deerhoof and the Curtains, though the Mae Shi aren't quite as effortlessly, cheerfully daft as either of those bands yet. The second half of Heartbeeps delves into messy, strangely bittersweet synth pop like "Spoils of Injury" and "Spoils of Victory," though this feels more like an elaboration on the EP's musical themes than a tangent. "The Universal Polymath" is as close as the Mae Shi get to Terrorbird's frenetic, angular dance-punk, but it still feels more connected to the rest of Heartbeeps than many of their previous album's tracks did. Though this EP is nowhere near as ambitious as Terrorbird was, that ends up working in the Mae Shi's favor; though they may not stick with this more cohesive approach on their next batch of songs, it certainly works on Heartbeeps.

Customer Reviews

Erratic Heartbeeps

I purchased this EP after hearing "The Universal Polymath" on internet radio. I am really pleased with it as a whole. I must admit that it takes 1-2 listen throughs to really enjoy it, but once you do it's fantastic. I respect the fact that this group recorded all of the tracks in a bedroom in Los Angeles; there is nothing cheap sounding about them. Eat The Prize, Universal Polymath, and the final Heartbeeps are probably my favorite tracks. Although, coming in at just 15 minutes from start to finish, it is no problem just listening to the whole CD. I guess what I like most about this EP is that it's so random, there are screeching guitar licks, techno beats, and great rock vocals.

You Gotta Get the Whole Album

As you can tell by the track times, this is one record you have to listen to in it's entirety. There are weeks where I put this in my car, and don't take it out. It's the best record ever for repeated listens. If you're not convinced, try "Eat the Prize" on for size, and then come back for more. I'll also make the bold claim that this album has one of the best punk vocal performances ever. I recommend this for fans of Radiohead, Hella, (the more raw punky side of) Beck, Fugazi, or Statue Factor.


Formed: 2003

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Los Angeles' noise rock outfit the Mae Shi features Ezra Buchla, Brad Breeck, and Tim and Jeff Byron. The bandmembers were longtime friends before starting the Mae Shi, with Buchla and Jeff Byron's friendship dating back to their high school days. With influences spanning no wave and classical legends like the Ex and Erik Satie, the band aimed to bring a wide array of sounds and approaches to its music. After playing their first gigs in early 2003, the Mae Shi issued their debut EP that summer, which...
Full Bio
Heartbeeps, The Mae Shi
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