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Our Earthly Pleasures

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Album Review

Maxïmo Park sounded so wound up and wiry on their debut, A Certain Trigger, it felt like the band might snap if they went any further in that direction on their next album. For Our Earthly Pleasures, the band recruited producer Gil Norton to fill out their sound; while Norton has done great things with bands like the Pixies and Foo Fighters, his heavily layered production ends up weighing down the band's formerly nimble rock. To be fair, Norton's approach does work on a few of Our Earthly Pleasures' more aggressive songs. "Girls Who Play Guitars" gets the album off to a great start, with synths buzzing with anticipation, taut basslines, and jagged riffs. The single "Our Velocity" follows suit, spilling over with burbling keyboards and an urgency that helps make up for the fact that it's far more conventional-sounding than anything Maxïmo Park has done before. Elsewhere, the album's bigger sound doesn't equal big impact, particularly on "By the Monument" and "The Unshockable," which miss the mark despite the band's impassioned delivery. And, while "A Fortnight's Time" doesn't quite work either, its witty lyrics ("When it comes to girls I'm mostly hypothetical/If I list their names it's purely alphabetical") almost save it. The same goes for "Books from Boxes," a breakup vignette that sounds like a more defeated follow-up to A Certain Trigger's "Postcard of a Painting" and, unfortunately, shows the difference between great lyrics and great songwriting. Our Earthly Pleasures' softer, more romantic songs are the best showcases for the album's lush sound and Paul Smith's appealing vocals and lyrics: "Nosebleed" and "Sandblasted and Set Free" are mature and polished takes on unrequited love and moving on from a breakup, with rippling keyboards that make them sound downright pretty. "Your Urge" goes from delicate guitar and piano counterpoint to full-on rock fury and back again, displaying a mastery Maxïmo Park didn't have on their debut; likewise, "Parisian Skies," a striking balance of ebb and flow, idealism and heartbreak, closes the album with one of the band's finest songs yet. There are strong lyrics and memorable melodies throughout Our Earthly Pleasures, but, frustratingly, they don't come together as consistently as they did on A Certain Trigger. Despite the album's unevenness, the best songs show how Maxïmo Park's music can evolve into something as quirky and unique as their debut and as pop-minded as the approach they try here.

Customer Reviews

This CD is one of Our Earthly Pleasures !!!

Maximo Park is a group that embodies the definition of «alternative». Why I am saying something like that ? They have ,firstly, witty and unconventional lyrics [ When it comes to girls I’m mostly hypothetical / If I list their names it’s purely alphabetical(A Fortnight’s Time), The path of excess just led to boredom(Girls Who Play Guitars), He changed his look for you-You changed your life for him Now, was the verdict worth the trial?(Nosebleed) ] and secondly a truly atypical, fresh music in their songs that surprises positively and many times changes subtly tempo and melody even into the same song (Our Velocity,Your Urge, A Fortnight’s Time). And that’s their gift and curse because they will not be never a selling, famous group due to it, but on the other side the lovers of the real music will have always a band to count on, a real BAND. This CD contains in whole very surprising and catchy tracks which will need, though, more than a couple of listenings to reveal their uniqueness. Here are my ratings: 5 stars: Our Velocity, 4.5 stars: Books From Boxes, The Unshockable, Your Urge, Nosebleed, Russian Literature 4 stars: Karaoke Plays, Girls Who Play Guitars 3.5 stars: Sandblasted And Set Free 3 stars: By The Monument, Parisian Skies All in all, Maximo Park is a musical retreat in the middle of a music industry with no quality and talent. Discover them!!! P.S. Look out for “Wasteland” also (album Help:A Day In The Life). Absolutely astonishing track !!!


Formed: 2001 in Newcastle, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Newcastle's angular pop quintet Maxïmo Park consist of singer Paul Smith, guitarist Duncan Lloyd, bassist Archie Tiku, keyboardist Lukas Wooller, and drummer Tom English. Like their friends and neighbors the Futureheads and Field Music, Maxïmo Park craft smart, sharply catchy songs inspired by post-punk and new wave legends like the Jam, XTC, Wire, and the Smiths. Lloyd, Tiku, Wooller, and English formed the band as an avant rock, largely instrumental group, taking their name from a meeting place...
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Our Earthly Pleasures, Maxïmo Park
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