zondag 16 februari 2014

Too much information. Maxïmo Park

Torn in two

That's the title of this post, "Torn in two". Simply because that's what happening to me the whole time I'm listening to Too much information. I just don't know what to make of it. One moment I'm here, next there and liking it, hating it or just uninterested and coming back any way.

Maxïmo Park came into my life with 'Apply some pressure' in 2006. The first 8 songs on debut album 'A certain trigger' were so incredibly good, putting Maxïmo Park right in league with Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. Where Arctic Monkeys became a league of their own, incomparable to nearly everyone and Franz Ferdinand developed itself further, Maxïmo Park was left behind more and more with each album. Too much information is its fifth and follows 'The national health'.

On Too much information Maxïmo Park is trying something new. The darker side of the 80s are let into the sound. Less guitars, more dark synthesizers. Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell without the louder beats, with real drums. Paul Smith is even singing a bit like David Gahan in some songs. The thing is that in some songs it really works. 'Leave this island' is truly a beautiful song. But is it a song that I want to hear from Maxïmo Park? No, yes, yes, no; there's a reason why I (nearly) never listen to the bands mentioned just now. I just don't like this sort of music very much.

A few songs try to get the mid-00s vibe back and come close. Opener 'Give, get, take', 'Drinking martinis' and 'Her name was Audre' are up-tempo and (almost) exiting. From there on Too much information goes off into a lot of directions. 'Lydia. the ink will never dry' gives another emulation of Maxïmo Park. A laidback version that has a rocking drum, but soft acoustic and electric guitars, even something sounding like stealdrums from a keyboard. 'My bloody mind' is a sort of rocker, but has a great ending. Think The Doors, but great in its own right. In other parts we have A Flock of Seagulls like keyboards.

All together Too much information sounds like Maxïmo Park is adrift. I hope the band is trying for a new sound and a new form. The opposite means that we are listening to the dying rattles of the band. There are parts to Too much information that may give Maxïmo Park a new direction. The main problem is that audiences show up expecting excitement and to jump to the excitement of  a 'A certain trigger' and 'Our earthly pleasures' kind. And they will not be getting it I guess. So that is a bit of a spot Maxïmo Park is in. Let's see how this plays out. In the meantime you'll find me swinging to and fro with this album. I have not given up hope yet. There is enough to enjoy, but leave your preconseptions on Maxïmo Park behind. Perhaps the band needs more time to reinvent itself successfully, but it will have to hurry.


You can listen to 'Leave this island' here.

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