PIAS, Prolifica [Release date 26.02.21]
Maximo Park have been around since 2001, now releasing their seventh album ‘Nature Always Wins’. Although I had heard of Maximo Park I had not heard much by them and that I have swiftly rectified after listening to this simply wonderful album.
But first a little background to the album, one of many recorded during lockdown and now seeing the light of day. As frontman Paul Smith notes “I’m so happy we were able to make this album during lockdown, as it’s been a challenging time for everyone. After almost 4 years since Risk To Exist, we wanted to explore new musical territory (for us) without sacrificing our trademark melodic twists and heartfelt lyrics.” The album title hints at the themes contained within with a nod to the famous Nature vs Nurture debate.
Produced by Atlanta-based Grammy-winning producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), the album was recorded remotely across Newcastle, Liverpool and Atlanta.
Maximo Park know how to get you out of your chair and bouncing around, just put on ‘All Of Me’ (loving the synth riff on this one) or ‘I Don’t Know What I Am Doing’, what a tune! This is how you do accessible indie pop rock. A song that is made for playing live.
‘Ardour’ gets the musical adrenaline pumping too, with a guest female vocalist, and another possible future single. The hypnotic drum beat and guitar riff on ‘My Baby Sleeps’ is another winner folks! Bit of an 80’s electro retro feel on ‘Meeting Up’. That is the beauty of this album in that it can often sound familiar yet has a new twist on it from the band.
Topical album too, as ‘Why Must A Building Burn’ asks the questions about the Grenfell tragedy in a measured way, similar to ‘The Fire’ by Jamie Freeman, and seeing their merch guy perish at the Bataclan terrorist attack. The relentless expansion of towns coupled with the closure of community hubs like libraries forms the basis of ‘Child Of The Flatlands’, which comes back to the album’s title, ‘nature always wins’.
I rarely award five stars as that album has to be pretty damn fine, all killer no filler as the saying goes. That is true of ‘Nature Always Wins’, a thought provoking and enjoyable album packed full of memorable melodies. Fantastic. *****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)
Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights
ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter
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