Monday, 18 June 2012

Although never away, Maximo Park are back!

An uproar of utter hysteria has enveloped my house since the release of this album. Maximo Park's The National Health is just one big 'YES!'. It's passionate, angsty, venomous and unignorable yet delicate, fragile and romantic - like the band themselves. I don't wish to compare it to previous work but on the first listen the new album sounds complete. Complete with undertones, detail, maturity, lust, honesty and talent - not that the previous three were lacking in any of those areas, especially talent, but there is just something forceful in the title track that I've never heard before. Fullness, confidence, a message. 'The Undercurrents' and 'Write This Down' both powerful  and gripping. 'Banlieue': gnarly and gritty with heavy, snarling guitars and the first single 'Hips and Lips'; both teasing the ears with a deep and secretive whisper, that builds to such heavy, anthemic energy. If you were dramatic you could even say 'Reluctant Love' and 'Unfamiliar Places' were almost perfect. The second last on the album and almost silent,'Unfamiliar Places' is soothing and melancholy yet hopefull. Ideal listening for the candlelit shadows of night and the warm breeze of summer - appropriate for any time, any place, any mood, any weather, anything. It's solitary but beautiful. Contrastingly, the video for German single 'Write This Down' although has the potential to be really good, I feel resembles more of an unfinished draft of how they initially planned it to be. The pink paint (smartly the same colour as the album cover) flying from the instruments, in my opinion is more of a distraction than a feature. The performance of the song itself is great, with a minimalist and clean setting the band's energy is amplified and the brilliance of the song takes centre stage, but I think the paint effect would look better if it were dripping from the instruments or running down the wall. Animation of the album cover's bird flying against the wall or from the guitar would have looked nice too. But regarding the more important; my life has more excitement after the release of The National Health and this album makes me feel not only hopefull but happy about music today.  

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