Album Review: Maxïmo Park

the national health (v2/cooperative)

Newcastle's angular pop quintet Maxïmo Park are back. Three years have passed since the band's previous album Quicken The Heart, during which time singer/songwriter Paul Smith released his more expansive solo album Margins. Smith and the rest of the band seem revitalized by the time off, delivering some of their catchiest and widest-ranging songs yet.

The National Health is a marked improvement on their previous offering. The introduction of more electronic sounds into the album is a welcome one, particular examples include Write This Down, and the Pulp-esque Until the Earth Would Open. Smith also tries on different vocal stylings for size, adopting a lower, more nuanced delivery on Hips and Lips for example. The Undercurrents, Reluctant Love, and Take Me Home are all fine examples of the sadder-but-wiser love songs Maxïmo Park have excelled at since the beginning.

Maxïmo Park aren't trying to resuscitate the bouncy post-punk of their early days - instead, they try out more sounds and ideas than ever, and to be fair, most of them seem to stick. The album confirms that Maxïmo Park are well and truly back in business. Well worth a listen.