Any band that can easily rhyme “theoretical” with “dialectical” in a three-minute pop song and make it sound cool has talent to spare. Maximo Park is that band. After arriving on the scene in 2005 with their tremendously entertaining debut A Certain Trigger, Maximo Park achieved modest chart success with the singles “Apply Some Pressure” and “Going Missing”. Those singles sounded as though the band came off of a mix tape from 1982.
Producer Gil Norton gives Our Earthly Pleasures a more modern and spacious sound allowing the band’s new wave sound room to breath, and room to grow, if only slightly. The tempos are slower, and there are a few more ballads, but the band certainly hasn’t lost their way. Standouts like “Russian Literature” and “Books From Boxes” show the band more confident than ever.
The focusedï rush of the first single “Our Velocity” doesn’t give way until it abruptly ends, sounding epic and apocalyptic all in less than four minutes. “Girls Who Play Guitars” and “A Fortnight’s Time” also have enough energy to make terrific singles. Paul Smith’s incredibly literate and catchy lyrics will have you reaching for your dictionary too. Some songs may come across as a little wordy, but Smith’s captivating vocals help overlook that.
While only slightly missing the mark, mainly because their debut was so good, Our Earthly Pleasures does show that Maximo Park weren’t just a flash in the pan, and have cornered the market for hyper-literate post-punk/new wave in the new millennium and have produced one of the year’s best albums.