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Maximo Park - 'Hips And Lips'

They've returned with a renewed energy

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Photo: Press
There’s something admirable in the way that Newcastle’s bounciest sons Maxïmo Park just get bloody well stuck in there. They don’t dance around the point or pause to consider how to set themselves in the coolest light, they just go “Well, we’re in a massive global recession, the government’s stripping back public services, everything’s terrible. Let’s write an angry album called ‘The National Health’.” Brilliant.

Similarly, when it comes to affairs of the heart, frontman Paul Smith has a way of getting right down to the blood and guts of it. The second track from the Park’s fourth album, out June 11, is an intense and uncomfortable post-tiff emotional dissection. It starts off brooding in a chilly synthpop mood, with a tense, fidgety keyboard line. Then, as Smith seeths “I punched the fence last night/Another act that you found pathetic”, the song becomes an agonised crescendo of jagged riffs, crashing drums and a howl of “You’re a puzzle to me/And you always will be”.

Sounds like Maxïmo’s time away has definitely given them a renewed energy, living up to Smith’s description of the new album being “as vital a music as people would want to hear”. Let’s just hope not too many fences were harmed in the making of this album.

Emily Mackay

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