When someone mentions Maxïmo Park two things immediately come to mind; lead singer Paul Smith’s strong Newcastle accent and his hat (OK maybe for those of us slightly older the comb-over of old may also be there).
Achieving success back in the mid 00’s, the Park were part of a wave of intelligent art school types who grabbed their guitars and made music for girls to dance to. Five albums on, are the band who were so associated with a particular time in the UK and Irish music scene still relevant? Well, to answer that question immediately, yes. Yes they are.
A slightly more electro sound opens ‘Too Much Information’ with Give, Get, Take before the trademark vocals kick in making it clear this could only be Maxïmo Park. Nothing too distant from previous material and, in this case, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The perfect opener to ease fans into the slightly more laid back vibe and 80s influences of most of the rest of the album.
Stand out track of the album comes three songs in with the unbelievably stunning Leave This Island; lead single from the album. A definite contender for song of the year so far, it seems a shame that Leave This Island is not topping the charts and receiving the acclaim it so deserves. For a band so known for their angular guitar riffs, it’s unusual that arguably the best song they have ever written doesn’t feature a six string.
Interestingly it is the tracks such as Is It True where the band steps away slightly from their guitars and head in a more New Wave route that they really excel. That said, the simple guitar work of closer Where We’re Going complements the beauty of the vocals and harmonies perfectly.
In Paul Smith, Maxïmo Park have an absolute treasure, as one of the most poetic lyricists of recent years. Intelligent, thoughtful and with the power to make you feel things you didn’t know were possible. ‘Too Much Information’ is an album to melt the coldest of hearts and give feelings to the deadest of souls. An album so beautiful, if given to Kristen Stewart before a performance it would probably evoke some emotion on her face.