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Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures

  by Anthony Dhanendran

published: 3 / 4 / 2007

Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures
Label: Warp Records
Format: CD


Lavishly-produced, but nevertheless bitingly sharp second album from Maximo Park, the follow-up to their bestselling 'A Certain Trigger;

The bands that spearheaded the recent revival in mainstream indie music – Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Franz Ferdinand – all faced a fair bit of pressure when it came down to their second albums. That was partly because their first albums were all pretty good, but also because they blew away the paltry offerings of the other pretenders to the charts with music that was streets ahead. The challenge, then, was to keep a foot on the accelerator with the next record. Franz Ferdinand managed it admirably with 'You Could Have It So Much Better', and Bloc Party's recent second outing, 'A Weekend in the City', is pretty good by their own high stands, although it lacks the hooks of that band's first album. Both bands took the opportunity to move into a more serious mode, with fuller arrangements and more expressive writing. Maximo Park appear to have been taking tips, because on first listen, 'Our Earthly Pleasures' comes across like a more polished version of their 2005 debut, 'A Certain Trigger'. Production duties have been handed over to Gil Norton, who has credits on albums by both the Pixies and Feeder. Anyone expecting singer Paul Smith to have morphed into Black Francis is in for a disappointment though. The only Pixies touch (or Feeder touch, for that matter) that's readily audible is that the guitars are a little more buzzy this time round. First single 'Our Velocity' (along with opener 'Girls Who Play Guitars') is vintage Maximo Park, but you can imagine it would only have been fourth or fifth single, were it on the first album. 'Books from Boxes' almost steals its hook from the first album, but redeems itself instantly with the wonderfully evocative lyric "Night falls and towns become circuit boards". 'The Unshockable', meanwhile, steals a drum beat from the Cure to take charge of the middle of the record, being punkily free of a melody. Closer 'Parisian Skies' channels the first album's 'Kiss You Better', giving the end of proceedings a jaunty, melodic lift. The main difference between Norton and Paul 'Phones' Epworth, who produced 'A Certain Trigger' seems to be an ear for a big tune – not necessarily the most melodic, but one that will provoke a response in a crowd. Where the first record was angular and abrasive, the edges on the second, buzzy guitars aside, seem to have been ground away. That's not to say that there's less substance to the music, but it does feel like the band are making music they think we want to hear, rather than what they want to make. Still, that's no big criticism – the tunes are largely still there, and Smith's lyrics range from prosaic ("No market value could justify the price of the rent") to bizarrely fascinating, and remain bitingly sharp in places ("Are you hopeful or just gullible?").

Track Listing:-
1 Girls Who Play Guitar
2 Our Velocity
3 Books From Boxes
4 Russian Literature
5 Karaoke Plays
6 Your Urge
7 The Unshockable
8 By The Monument
9 Nosebleed
10 A Fortnight's Time
11 Sandblasted And Set Free
12 Parisian Skies

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Interview (2005)
Maximo Park - Interview
Newcastle band Maximo Park's debut album 'A Certain Trigger' has been one of the bestselling albums from a new group this year. Aaron Brown talks to them about their success and acclaim, and instant popularity


Maximo Park (2007)
Maximo Park - Maximo Park
In the latest in our 'Photoscapes' photographic series, Katie Anderson shoots Maximo Park at a show at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth

digital downloads


A Certain Trigger (2005)
Exceptional debut album from the much hyped Maximo Park, which proves to be "possibly the most heart felt indie pop record on the left-field of Death Cab For Cutie"
Apply Some Pressure (2005)
Patonki (2001)

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