Wednesday, June 15, 2005

maxïmo park - a certain trigger [album review]

[Warp Records]

The “latest British sensation” isn’t an idea that is particularly appealing anymore. But Maxïmo Park, the latest act to be dubbed precisely that, surprisingly, are actually worth the attention. To further surprise, this Newcastle five-piece are on the electronic label Warp Records, who’s consistently high quality electronic/dance catalogue alone gives a useful indication of the merit of A Certain Trigger.

But, of course, the album speaks for itself. True to typically Warp Records style, the production is absolutely meticulous. Their brand of new-New-Wave is thoroughly melodic, catchy and danceable. Yes, it’s got angular guitars, and yes, tight, coordinated rhythms are a big part of the sound. But Maxïmo Park are smart – they know how to retain intelligence, depth and genuine quality, while still remaining accessible. It’s not overly complex, but it’s certainly far better than the majority of other recent retro-rock

Lyrically, it has the same British realism that the pop sensibilities of Gang of Four pioneered, strong English accent and all. This is also reminiscent of other UK-press-darlings Bloc Party’s confessional approach to crafting a more sincere indie-pop/rock song. This intelligence leaves the album as a whole free from the emptiness that plagues fellow new-New-Wavers Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and the awful The Bravery, even if they could easily be lumped into the same category. Sure, they may wear the same blazers, thrift shop t-shirts and torn jeans as their Top20 contemporaries, but unlike the aforementioned others, substance is, for once, placed far in front of style.

-Richard MacFarlane

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