Album Review by Mark Bayross
As the only non-dance act to be signed to electronica label Warp and after the success (and subsequent cult status) of singles GRAFFITI and GOING MISSING, much has been expected of Maximo Park’s debut album. With song-writing contributions from all band members, the result is an eclectic range of sounds, but with a unifying feel throughout.
Driven along by jangling guitars and an electronic sheen, Paul Smith’s accented Geordie vocals deliver tales of lost love and living in crappy Britain like a punk Pulp or a disco Joy Division. Comparisons to the Futureheads are inevitable and the opening couple of songs do nothing to dispel this, but the heady rush of GRAFFITI soon kicks things into gear and the album soars from this point on.
I WANT YOU TO STAY builds from a staccato start into glorious washes of keyboard, while the bass-driven LIMASSOL is chock full of time changes and an almost early 90s baggy organ sound and the simple, tender THE COAST IS ALWAYS CHANGING will strike a chord with anyone who has ever tried to maintain a long distance relationship.
The band seem to have thought hard about their craft: they have written songs that will have immediacy live, Smith has tested each line of his lyrics to ensure they “stand up in isolation” and every musical element has been assessed for its contribution – nothing superfluous here.
The closing few songs are as strong as they are varied, from the spiky, catchy ONCE, A GLIMPSE to the stripped down, bonkers NOW I’M ALL OVER THE SHOP and the haunting, slow-burning electro-pop of ACROBAT.
A debut full of confidence and invention – I’d expect these lads to be around for a while.