Maximo Park - Too Much Information

by Lawrence Poole Rating:3 Release Date:2014-02-03

There was a survey carried out a number of years ago into the most hospitable area of the United Kingdom and, by all accounts, the North East won by a landslide.

It’s no wonder, then, that a scattering of multi-national companies have wisely selected the region for their call-centre bases – thanks to the innate warmth and bonhomie of the local natives.
It’s played a part in why I’ve always had a soft spot for bands emanating from the land of Geordies and Mackems myself – Kenickie, The Futureheads, even stretching back to The Animals and ahem… Dire Straits. The merest hint of those dulcet, lyrical tones and I’m often done for.

When you throw in the fizzing energy, commanding showmanship and intriguing wordplay of fellow North Easterners Maximo Park, it’s easy to understand just why so many of us have loyally clutched them to our hearts since they began applying some pressure in the mid-00s. Their latest self-produced long-player, Too Much Information, finds them once again treading a contemplative and, at times, confessional path.

All in all, it’s a mixed bag, meshing wistful balladry with barnstorming anthems which you can easily picture livewire frontman Paul Smith delivering with customary gusto while straddling a speaker stack. 'Give, Get, Take' is as urgent and demanding as its title suggests, while 'Brain Cells' slows things down to a far more cerebral pace.

Comeback single 'Leave This Island' is arguably the pick of the bunch, ruminating on the complexities of relationships. meanwhile, Lydias everywhere will be glad to have finally been immortalised in song: the catchy yarn 'Lydia, the Ink Will Never Dry'.

Sadly, a mid-set slump sparked by the anodyne 'My Bloody Mind' and listless 'Is It True?' have cost the band a couple of stars from this reviewer, but thankfully a strong back-end to the record saves things somewhat. Surfing on the back of Duncan Lloyd’s whip-tight licks, 'Midnight on the Hill' and 'Where We’re Going' bring things to a close on a natural high.

One of the nation’s most underrated live acts, there’s plenty here to add real colour and texture to the band's decade-long back-catalogue.

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