CD Review

By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Since one of the best albums of 2005 so far is The Futurehead's self-titled debut, it's impossible not to mention them when talking about the Newcastle quintet Maximo Park.

These UK groups have eerily similar styles, with lead singers who even sound alike. In fact, it would take a pretty trained ear to tell that the songs on Maximo Park's A Certain Trigger weren't Futurehead's material.

But I think there's room for a few bands that sound this great.

Maximo Park

7 out of 10

  • Album: A Certain Trigger
  • Label: Warp Records

Very much a part of the dance rock indie trend, Maximo Park has fast songs that move sporadically through melodies, getting you excited for what's going to come next.

There may not be a better or catchier song than the first single, "Apply Some Pressure." Four equally catchy melodies soar over angular guitars, and, as often happens on A Certain Trigger, keys become the secret weapon. They bring depth to multiple songs, without ever becoming the main attraction.

Lyrically, "Pressure" and other tracks rely on witty one-liners such as: "You know that I would love to see you in that dress/ I hope that I will live to see you undressed."

However, lyrics haven't been the strongest part of anything in the recent wave of new wave. And Maximo Park doesn't change that.

While no other song matches the punch of "Pressure," plenty of songs manage to slow down a bit and stay every bit as interesting, like "Limassol" and "The Coast is Always Changing."

Even when one part of the band isn't hitting on all cylinders, the songs remain strong. "Now I'm All Over The Shop" is a great song with a pretty awful guitar part that fills the gaps between verses, when the drum fills are much more interesting.

While they don't have the background vocals that the Futureheads do, and, thus, don't have the joyous moments of harmony, lead signer Paul Smith does a good job without them by employing heaps of attitude into every track.

The only part of the album that doesn't seem to fit into the Maximo Park formula is "Acrobat," a strange excursion into electronica that may work for you, if you can get by the spoken word verses that almost make it seem like a joke.

But after the nearly five minutes of "Acrobat," the band jumps right back into sing-a-long mode, making raw, two minute pop songs drenched in distortion that would make the Ramones proud.