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neumu
Monday, July 28, 2014 
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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
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+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
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+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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Maximo Park
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A Certain Trigger
Warp
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The snob in me didn't want to like Maximo Park. But, dammit, there's nothing I can do about it. I must fess up: they're good. There. I said it, all right? They're good.

Why did I not want to like them? Because their dance-y post-punk sound seemed too convenient. Well, surprise, surprise, another band that wants to sound like Britain 1979. My God, it's just pathetic how many of you there are out there. Just pathetic. I yawned and rolled my eyes. But something about Maximo Park begged me to play the disc again; something said there was something there, something more. I tried to ignore it. I tried to deny it and sat on it awhile. Screw those guys. Who needs 'em? Not me.

You already know where this is going. Yeah, I listened to it again and with more intent. And, suddenly, I was tapping my foot and singing along. Shoot. These guys know what they're doing. They know how to write good songs and they know how to play them — and mean it.

No, Newcastle's Maximo Park — singer Paul Smith, guitarist Duncan Lloyd, bassist Archis Tiku, keyboardist Lukas Wooller, and drummer Tom — are not entirely inventive or original. You've heard these sounds many times before. You've heard angular riffs climb around hard edges like this before. You've heard synthesized keys employed for wiry futuristic effect before. You've heard drums hit with precision and the ferociousness of a whip before. But you haven't heard their songs before.

Produced by Paul Epworth (who also worked with Bloc Party and Babyshambles), their debut album, A Certain Trigger, has Maximo Park inserting enough creativity, energy and personality into their music to get away with lifting sounds directly from such post-punk bands as XTC, The Jam and Wire — even enough to get away with capitalizing on a trendy comeback that's already been exhausted by the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Futureheads.

The incredibly catchy "Apply Some Pressure," which also appeared on their second EP, of the same name, is no doubt the album's single. Slightly disoriented and intentionally off, the rollicking track features a spastic, high-pitched guitar line, stop-start rhythms and an uplifting chorus you can't help but sing along to: "What happens when you lose everything? You just start again/ You start all over again." Backed by lighthearted organ playing that signals The Doors and a foreboding bass line, "Graffiti" is a darker, more emotionally heavy, heartbroken track: "I'll do graffiti, if you sing to me in French/ What are we doing here, if romance isn't dead?" The terribly addictive "The Coast Is Always Changing" shifts between bouncing, speedy proclamations ("I am young and I am lust/ Every sentence has its cost/ I am young and I am lust/ You react to my request") to an impassioned chorus uplifting enough to carry itself to the coast. The electrified, pulsating "Acrobat" stands out for its soft speak-singing, drum-machine heartbeats and fuzzy guitar swirls, while closer "Kiss You Better" brings the album back to dance pace, but at a dreamier level, with passionate cooing, backup "ooh"s and crunching, melodic guitar.

Well, there you have it. What started as prejudiced disdain has transformed into loving surrender.


by Jenny Tatone




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