Album Review: Maximo Park - The National Health
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3/5Momentum is a hard thing for most bands to maintain from album to album. The need to 'grow' and 'mature' as a band can slow down even the most talented musicians as they experiment with sounds and feel out new directions. This has certainly been the case for Maximo Park. Emerging amidst the post-punk revival in the mid-noughties along with bands such as Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand, the band’s debut A Certain Trigger defined itself with its rocket-fast songs and intellectually stirring lyrics from front-man Paul Smith.
But that desperate need to mature somewhat stymied their progress, as their meatier songs simply failed to resonate on their second album. The same could be said for their dismal third album, which seemed to mark a definitive downward trajectory that seemed irreparable. So where do you go when all other avenues have seemingly become creative cul-de-sacs? For Maximo Park the answer seems to be go back to the beginning and the punchy songs that made them popular in the first place. Their latest effort, The National Health, marks that time when the band finally realised that what people want from them was that shot of adrenaline that fuelled their début. And it's rare for the album to let up. After a confusingly ponderous intro, the album opener and title track 'The National Health' kicks in at breakneck speed, with unrelenting guitars complimenting the manic drums and Smith's semi-singing and semi-ranting delivery.
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