Blonde Maze, the moniker of New York City musician Amanda Steckler, has tickled our auditory senses for the past few months. We’ve featured her first two singles on a previous Weekend Showcases (April 3 and May 8). However, singles only give you a quick peek inside the artist. It is on albums – whether EPs or LPs – where we truly discover who the artist is, from their style to what drives them to what they’re trying to achieve and communicate.
On her debut EP, Oceans, there is a vulnerability in Steckler’s music. Despite the electronic and synthetic beats, underneath is Steckler transposing her innermost fears and emotions on to people and other objects. It is a talent that Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES and Hayley Williams of Paramore have perfected, and Steckler through her alter-ego is mastering.
On “Summer Rain”, Blonde Maze takes two elements – heat and water – to describe two people and the chemistry they have. Which one is Steckler is unknown, but like a summer rain there is both relief and withdrawal. “Awake / Asleep” is that grasping for someone’s attention, a person who haunts your every thought and leaves you a precarious position.
The stellar “Ocean on Fire” continues the duo contractions in the song titles and the push-pull feelings Steckler has for an individual and the questions she has about him. The song showcases the underlying brilliance of Steckler as a musician and songwriter, using the ocean as the immense space of opportunity and fire as the means to ignite it. Where “Ocean on Fire” sought forgiveness, “Letters I Never Send” is one of regret and remorse, having lost something – something that may have been real or only perceived.
One thing that is clear on Oceans is that Blonde Maze or Amanda Steckler may be a songwriter of riddles and contradictions, but one would a tremendous future. Her debut EP is startling for its honesty and stunning beauty, an EP that is simply terrific.
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