mon 04/03/2024

Album: Maxïmo Park – Nature Always Wins | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Maxïmo Park – Nature Always Wins

Album: Maxïmo Park – Nature Always Wins

Less political and more introspective: the arty Geordies two decades in

Composed in the first lockdown, and recorded remotely, the seventh album from Newcastle’s Maxïmo Park was produced by Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter).

But it is not so much a record of the times as a snapshot of a time in the band's lives.

And it opens strongly with a typically jerky piece of indie pop considering ageing in an exhausting world “As you can clearly see/I’ve lost some luminosity/I hadn’t bargained for such intensity,” Paul Smith sings in "Partly of My Making", still with the magical accent. I think we can all get behind that right now. Given our times, you would expect an angrier offering than this.

The optimism is possibly the result of all band members becoming fathers (the singles "Baby Sleep" and "I Don’t Know What I’m Doing" are both parental odes, as is "Feelings I’m Supposed to Feel"). Other tracks nod to domestic bliss and the joy of finding a life partner, not least "All of Me", which is a tad on the MOR side for this reviewer. The accompanying video reveals that the band's look hasn't shifted an inch from the debut days of the perennial favourite A Certain Trigger. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Surprisingly up-tempo "Why Must a Building Burn?" is not just about Grenfell but Smith discovering that one of the band’s merch men had been killed in the Bataclan attack – by seeing a photo of his smiling face on the news. "Why must a building burn/Before the powerful learn?" he asks. Assuming any learning has happened. "Child of the Flatlands", perhaps the most political and intriguing track of the album – and definitely the moodiest – closes it. It takes a sweeping looking across the wasteland of this country where "nature always wins" and "the libraries are closing down".

With two entries in Vice magazine’s seriously miscalculated and rather snobbish "Indie Landfill" list, Maxïmo Park have their detractors but they are accomplished songsmiths with a nice turn of phrase. Certainly fans won’t be disappointed with this more mature, hopeful-against-the-odds offering.

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