Most indie bands release a darker, inacessable first album and a poppy, more radio friendly second album. Maximo Park did the opposite. Their debut album, A Certain Trigger was a briilant pop record and almost every song could’ve worked as a single. The followed up record, 2007’s Our Earlthly Pleasures had quite a few good songs, but at the same time it was a darker record for the band and the jerky guitar that made their debut so good didn’t sound go great when the songs were slowed down. For many fans, such as myself, there was hope that this album would be a return to form of sorts. Unfortunatly in many ways, it isn’t.
The problem with this album is that it isn’t as attention-grabbing as their previous releases. Even Our Earthly Pleasures had some great songs that made you want to keep listening. On this album they songs are less catchy, the lyrics aren’t as witty and even the inclsuions of synthasizes can’t keep the album from being a bit forgettable.
The first track on the album, Wraithlike, is the closest to an A Certain Trigger era single on the album with its frantic tempo and air-raid sirens in the background. The Pentultimate Clinch has the band’s trademark witty lyrics and a bass line which would fit nicely in a Joy Divison Song. While their single, The Kids Are Sick Again lacks any sort of distinctive guitar line and sounds no different to anything the other British indie bands around today have released. A Cloud of Mystery picks things up again before the sluggish and for lack of a better word, boring Calm ruins the moment.
Let’s Get Clinical is fine as far as the music goes, but Paul Smith’s heart-on-sleeve lyrics boarder on the cringeworthy, which seems to a continuing problem on this album.
This album should have been a return to form for Maximo Park and propell them back into he spotlight. Intead it was a collection of songs that were simply okay, which is a shame because Maximo Park are band who are capable of doing much better than just okay.