Maximo Park - Nature Always Wins (Prolifica)
When Newcastle band Maximo Park released their debut album, A Certain Trigger
in 2005 the band at one point even toured with Leeds’ Kaiser Chiefs. The pop/indie sound of both bands complimented each other. Whilst the Kaiser’s have seldom been out of the public eye, Maximo Park have been off the radar.
With Maximo Park their songs always had a choppy staccato rhythm that gave them an unmistakable sound. Now, 16 years on, the band are still going strong. Though their sound has evolved somewhat and crossed the Atlantic, some of these tracks wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kings of Leon album or an album from The Killers.
Now down to three of the original members, singer Paul Smith’s distinctive vocals resonate especially on 'Ardour', “if I become the joke, can I still deliver the punchline?“ asks Smith in his north east accent. The song in particular is the one that sounds like the Maximo Park of old. Fellow north east singer Pauline Murray turns up on the track too.
Things kick off though with the first song on the album, 'Party of My Making'. You would never know this was Maximo Park as their sound has moved on. The pop influence of The Killers is felt on 'Versions of You' - tracks such as this would cross over the band to a wider audience.
'Baby Sleep' follows, as Smith has become a father; perhaps the track is about his new parenthood? Again this is one of the songs that goes back to their old sound. At one time the band were writing about “standing at the Monument” in Newcastle but things never stay the same and a lot of (Tyne) water has passed under the bridge since 2005.
There is some political comment too on 'Why Must A Building Burn', a song about the Grenfell fire and terrorism is one of the best tracks on the album. The song is bound to become a live favourite when the time comes, in fact the majority of the tracks here sound like they were written for a live audience.
The album concludes with 'Children of the Flatlands' where Smith sings about how things have changed over the years where he grew up “the libraries have closed, where will the the random folk go when they feel all alone” he asks, but 'Nature Always Wins' he offers - which aptly is the name of the album.
Naturally the band have moved on, grown and evolved and sounding all the better for it.
I rate the album 4 out of 5.