Retaining credibility after 10 years, half a dozen albums and a slew of overplayed singles is no mean feat for a band of today. Maximo Park are a band who have never been far from our consciousness since their debut album ‘A Certain Trigger’ was nominated for a Mercury in 2005. A steady stream of hit singles and critical praise has gone by and now they release of their sixth long player ‘Too Much Information’.
Opening track ‘Give, Get, Take’ initially takes us back to those early days: all familiar frenetic guitars, impatient vocals and impressive vocabulary but then keyboard flourishes and electronic elements hint at exploration. ‘Brain Cells’ makes good on that promise, taking us to an entirely different place with sparse electronica, atmospheric synths and all together darker tones. Here is where we feel the influence of producer Dave Okumu of sonic scientists The Invisible, who lent his hand on the record along with fellow North-easterners Field Music’s David and Peter Brewis.
‘Too Much Information’ is however, a pop record. Lead single ‘Leave this Island’ will reassure existing fans that MP still have an ear for a tune even if they refuse to stand still. ‘I Recognise The Lights’ also demonstrates the band’s ability at creating a post punk pop hook. But there are forgettable moments as well which perhaps hold the Newcastle group back as a band with a dedicated cult following rather than elevating them to luminous stadium-botherers or muso darlings. Whether they want to be either of those things is another question.
Tracks such as ‘Drinking Martinis’ and ‘Midnight on the Hill’ rely too much on Paul Smith’s sublime turn of phrase without really forming anything special in the way of melody or a hook. Smith’s way with words will always be a selling point for this band however, and this is no bad thing. Songs like ‘Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry’, exudes the poetic and uses the short story platform the singer has mentioned in interviews supporting the album to great effect.
‘Is It True’ is another track which has Okumu’s paw prints on: 80s-indebted electronica and haunting vocals, it’s a long way from ‘Apply Some Pressure’ and is testament to a band whose entire delivery seems to demonstrate restlessness and a yearning for progression.
‘Too Much Information’ will prove that people still haven’t had enough of Maximo Park. The album contains everything that fans love about the band while also braving unchartered musical territory. Here’s to the next 10 years.