Our Earthly Pleasures

Studio Album by released in 2007
Our Earthly Pleasures's tracklist:
Girls Who Play Guitars
Our Velocity
Books From Boxes
Russian Literature
Karaoke Plays
Your Urge
The Unshockable
By the Monument
Nosebleed
A Fortnight's Time
Sandblasted and Set Free
Parisian Skies

Our Earthly Pleasures review

Follow up to Maximo Park’s impressive debut album

Like their friends and neighbors The Futureheads, Newcastle's angular pop quintet Maximo Park craft smart, sharply catchy songs inspired by post-punk and new wave legends like The Jam, XTC, Wire, and The Smiths. It may not be obvious at first glance, but with a bit of thought it's fairly apparent that Maximo Park are highly competitive with their peers. Appearing in the unlikely guise of a chart bothering guitar band on Warp, they may have been doomed to failure, but between then and now their stature has grown more than any dare have hoped. Coming across as both smart and fearless in the face of a good pop tune, debut album A Certain Trigger and a triumphant tour sandwiched between The Cribs and Kaiser Chiefs placed them firmly at the head of a queue of new British pop bands. Since then, of course, we've had Arctic Monkeys and a rush of second albums from that same bunch of 2005 vintage indie heroes claiming number ones in the process. One might have expected Maximo Park to have got lost among them and even disappear. They haven't. Te guys continue working. Our Earthly Pleasures is the second album from them, and is the follow up to their impressive debut album.

Our Earthly Pleasures is an energetic, vibrant affair

Our Earthly Pleasures confirms its creators to be one of the UK's more idiosyncratic indie outfits – the sort of bookish, educated rockers for whom intelligence means something more than reading a book while you're having your photo taken. For example vocalist Paul Smith boast the sort of wit and wisdom to rhyme the words "hypothetical", "alphabetical", "theoretical" and "dialectical" (see A Fortnight's Time) without coming off as a pretentious try-hard. But this is not the only one reason. Having recorded Our Earthly Pleasures Maximo Park one more time proved that they are able to create tuneful and sophisticated songs with athletic agility. The subject-matter of the album is different, but much here is concerned with collapsing relationships. Smith takes a more circuitous route than most though the familiar territory of a love song: Our Velocity treats male-female communication as a cipher to be cracked, while the chiming Books From Boxes takes stock of a love affair of a relationship from its accumulated paper trail. By the time Parisian Skies comes around you are truly saddened that it’s the last track and your only thought will be of starting the whole thing over again. On the whole, Our Earthly Pleasures is an energetic, vibrant affair with which Maximo Park continue to sate the appetites of those who need a lift on a dull day.

This time Maximo Park sound more expansive

Our Earthly Pleasures is a slicker album than A Certain Trigger. It’s bigger, louder and more record than their debut, where we find the band in a more reflective mood. For some changes the band should thank their new producer Gil Norton who has infused a bit of power into what formerly seemed brittle, but Maximo Park’s signature is Smith’s vocal, and he’s still ever-present in the foreground, with or without that hair style of his. He’s a likeable geek, for sure; a singer that means well and has a rapacious, rhythmic delivery that keeps you locked into proceedings. Paul Smith's plaintive and heartfelt lyrics and his unique voice are backed by a band not afraid to experiment with their sound. The proof of it is the exaggerated use of Lukas Wooller on keyboard and Duncan Lloyd's battered guitar whom it seems dictates the pace and rhythm. Fans will find plenty to love about Our Earthly Pleasures, which helps cement Maximo Park’s reputation for producing rough-edged, power-driven pop of the highest caliber.

(10.04.2007)
Rate review3.72
Total votes - 25


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