I remember what attracted me to Maximo Park’s quintessential debut back in 2005. It was the preciseness in which the energy hit, the rate and movement as it built and surged through the songs, and the integrity of the singer’s voice. Yet somehow I kept the band in the background, while I obsessed over the more obscure artists of the time. Now its ten years later, people talk specifically about ‘nostalgia’ when speaking of Maximo Park, yet to me A Certain Trigger has always evoked that feeling.
Maximo are surging power pop. They are a glam rock band, in retrospect more comparable to The Killers than Mission of Burma, yet I’ve looked at them with political intrigue. With the release of their album Risk to Exist this year the band has proved me right. The opener tonight, What Did We Do To Deserve This? challenges the notion of who we are and our perceptions of each other, specifically challenging the notion of nostalgia and ‘the good old days.’ Without a breath they roll into the title track from the new album, and a shining example of the band’s formulaic style and artistic handwriting. The verse is drilling drum rolls, jutting guitar, and buzzing synths breaking out into a companionate plea ‘Throw your arms around me. Show some responsibility!’. At this moment my heart swells as I feel like the band have come through for me.
Singer Paul Smith later takes some time between songs to explain that the new work is about showing solidarity, ‘On a personal level, about being there for somebody’. Paul’s romantic perspective expands across the Maximo Park discography as well as his other work. His lyrics are at often vivid, wistfully capturing brief moments and painting in the scenery. Songs such as The Coast Is Always Changing and Leave This Island give me a sense of place and the passage of time.
The theme of place and position arises again on the new album. Work and Then Wait is a protest song, which examines how people in power view the less affluent in society, and how they overstep the mark. The Pixieseque riff and 60’s pop synth are set to a steady marching beat.
The band flit elastically between the old and new songs and I am impressed by their slick and energetic performance. As the night draws to a end I reflect on Maximo Park’s place in the context of my own world. The glimmer I felt for them in the beginning held a hint of promise to me as I listened on from behind the counter of my part time job. I’ve now come find them speaking to me with the volume turned up from a place, I feel, they know exactly where they are coming from.
For more on Maximo Park and their tour click here.