Maximo Park’s previous albums «A certain Trigger» and «Our Earthly Pleasures» set high standards and have raised the expectations on Newcastle’s band. After a good listen to a «Quicken the Heart» pre release copy I can’t deny I am really liking the «new flavor» sound from Maximo Park’s latest LP, set to be released on 11th May.
El nuevo album de la banda británica Maximo Park es inminente, su salida está prevista para el día 11 de mayo y ha creado gran espectativa. El grupo ha dejado en su propia web contenido que ir saboreando antes del lanzamiento y que, por el momento, está cosechado buenas críticas. Podéis echar un vistazo al video del primer single y escuchar completos otros dos temas de su nuevo «Quicken The Heart»
Winds of change?
A Mature and brave step forward that I hope every fan will appreciate. Quite an achievement, Maximo Park do not re-create themselves in this third album but I think they have succeeded in finding a new although genuine path, timidly shown in some of the first albums’ tracks as in «I want You to Stay»,and much more persistent in their second album with the likes of «Our Velocity», «Nosebleed» or «Russian Literature».
A more intimate atmosphere, richer keyboard arrangements from the convulsing Lukas Wooller, subtle effects added to Paul’s voice here and there. In my opinion a clear statement that Maximo is moving from a direct indie-punkish sound to a more elaborate ground. Anyway I am so happy to find that every member seems to have his own space without losing the MP essence in the end. Amazingly, the changes are remarkable but the whole thing still works. From the blinks made by Paul Smith to other music styles I would say he could have influenced the rest in the seek for new sounding experiences. But maybe I am wrong after all…
Maximo Park have gained a well deserved place in the line-up of most of rock festivals in Europe ( Reading, Leeds, T in the Park, Rock im Park, FIB, Summercase..). Sharing the stage with names like Interpol, The Killers, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand or Kings of Leon is not just a coincidence. They perform honestly on stage, a kind of “what you hear, is what you get”, something a good listener appreciates and Paul is a commited singer to say the least. My concern with the new album is a deeper production work that might compromise some songs while gigging. Nevertheless I trust the band will be able to maintain their true feeling even live.
Generally in «Quicken the Heart» you can tell the personality of the instruments apart quite easily. Each with its own and different character, eventually shaping a convincing and dynamic package. Maybe less round and inmediate at a first glimpse than previous albums. Further listening reveals a higher lasting appeal in my opinion.
The song «Wraithlike» opens the album and is maybe the only clue about Maximo Park’s musical roots in the entire LP, together with «Overland, West of Suez» which reminds me a bit of «Limassol». Guitar roars at the front with some simple keyboard works going on in the background. The track «Wraithlike» was posted as a free download in the MP page and was a good sample of what was coming and a nice present from MP, thanks guys.
Then comes «The Penultimate Clinch», I like the softcell-ish start and vintage keyboard sound. I find interesting the way it goes from a regular cadence to a more unpredictable and strong pace.
Next is the first single «The kids are sick again», sort of a Maximo meets U2-kaiser chiefs. What to say about the song? well the video was posted on their web page some weeks ago so you can check and judge for yourself. Personally I find the material posted online, «Wraithlike» and «The Kids are sick again», promising enough to go buy the album (I ordered it online).
I noticed that during some of the tracks it may be difficult to discern between true bass or guitar and electronic sounds/keyboards. I love the way they sometimes «melt» together like in track six, «In another World». To keep things in line, looks like Tom English made his mind up towards using punchier sounds across some of the albums songs, somehow adding an electronic feel to the drums as well.
A clear example is the fourth track, «A cloud of Mystery», among my favorites and one of the most keyboard-intensive songs . In «Let’s get clinical» (seventh), kind of «I want you to Stay» taste in the chords but with a more sensual background, you can also get that sense of electronic vibe. Both wonderful songs with Paul’s voice performing sooo well. My bet is on them being future singles.
«Calm», which is the track number five, is curiously the song with the softest beginning in the album but also has the most obscure guitar during some parts. The «bouncing» bass is great too, a song that goes from good to better.
«Roller Disco Dreams» and «Questing, not Coasting» (eight and ten respectively) have the most histrionic chorus and higher voice tones, but having Paul is a guarranty that the vocals are delivered with balance. Very very beatiful songs by the way.
For the rock lovers there is also room for joy. Not only the potent «Wraithlike» but also «Tanned» (track nine) with maybe the best drums on the entire album, and «Overland, West of Suez» are good rock pieces. Overdriven guitar rhythms from Duncan Lloyd with solid bass and drums that add lots of presence to those tracks. «In another World» is also a nice rocking song but with a bit of synth filling the background, not a problem for me though. I must say Duncan excels once again and makes the guitar shine throughout the whole LP.
The frugal «I haven’t seen her in ages», with its sticky guitar riffs and ethereal keyboards, closes the album. I go to sleep at 2 AM with a smile on my face and a good overall feeling about it. Happy sounding dreams.
The album, «Quicken the Heart» is a godsend to my ears. «Wraithlike» retaining most of the original MP character, direct and round, an immediate delight. The first single «The kids are sick again» is highly addictive an assured hit. Imho «Let’s get Clinical» and «A Cloud of Mistery» are huge songs too and probably next singles (good start, good ending, very catchy songs). «Roller disco Dreams» and «Questing not coasting» form an aureal and soul shaking couple while «Calm», «Tanned» and «Overland, West of Suez» a formidable and round trio. «The Penultimate Clinch» and «In Another World» are both entertaining and long run songs.
Summing up poethically, a pretty flower is made up of nice petals, failing one in shape or colour could cause the entire bloom to lose its beauty. That did not happen in this case and Maximo succeded where others failed, the third album.
Yes, definitely MP’s third chapter involves a «hat trick» for the Brithish group. Simply one of the greatest european pop-rock bands of the 2000 era, no more no less.