Album: Maximo Park - The National Health - Counteract | Music News & Reviews From BirminghamCounteract | Music News & Reviews From Birmingham | Counteract is the best place for local music news, reviews and interviews from the heart of Birmingham.
In the press release for Park’s fourth long-player, frontman Paul Smith denounced the music world for making jaunty music during the global recession. Of course, Maximo Park’s stock-in-trade comprises heavily of uptempo indie floorfillers, but there’s always been the anger and bile lingering underneath. Here, it begins to bubble over.
The title track is spiky and fuelled by tension, Smith yelling “England is sick and I’m a casualty” over a tune that is an olive branch to fans of ‘Our Earthly Pleasures‘. At the very least, this is album is proof that Maximo Park have long yet to exhaust their usual brand of hi-octane indie hooks, but at the very best, it’s their strongest album since their debut; between 2009’s underwhelming ‘Quicken the Heart‘ and Smith’s woeful solo LP, Maximo have remembered what they’re good at, and delivered it in spades.
The running theme is how awful love is, but Smith is lyrically on fine form, and as he vents his emotional catharsis, it’s a reminder he’s a songwriter to be cherished. Not least on ‘The Undercurrents’ and the brilliantly titled ‘This Is What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’, two sprightly numbers that – despite owing a debt to their previous track ‘Nosebleed’ – remind us when they stop for a breather, they are capable of impressive stuff.
About Samuel Lambeth
Listening to music is my favourite pastime, and I enjoy listening to new, up and coming releases as well as classic records. My favourite bands are varied and long but include Ocean Colour Scene, Vampire Weekend, The Beatles, R.E.M., The Bluetones, Buffalo Tom, to new bands such as Yuck, Surfer Blood, Brother and The Vaccines.