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maximopark nationalhealth
Artist: Maximo Park
Title: The National Health
Genre: Indie / Rock
Release Date: 8th June 2012
Label: Universal (V2)

Album Review

It's about time that we recommend our dear readers this great new album by MAXIMO PARK, which was after all already released three months ago. If 'The National Health' wasn't your album of the summer yet it might become your album for this year's autumn - although the music is probably a bit too upbeat and uplifting for the forthcoming season. But this album is not all bouncy and happy, there's a strong sense of bitterness, concern, and social unease in these uneasy times. And, of course, a lot of heartbreak.

Seven years ago MAXIMO PARK were the band of the summer, the Indie Rock group of choice for all hipsters and Indie aficionados when the band from Newcastle, England, made their breakthrough with their debut album 'A Certain Trigger' and the hit singles 'Apply Some Pressure' and 'Graffiti'. 2005 was the year when MAXIMO PARK started playing tiny little clubs in university towns in spring and only half a year later they were featured on big festivals, on MTV and on the cover of the NME. It was the summer of MAXIMO PARK but that they had more to offer proved the quintet around singer Paul Smith with their second album, 'Our Earthly Pleasures', released in January 2007. 'The National Health' is already MAXIMO PARK's fourth album, the first after a longer break and their first since their departure from the band's long-time label Warp, on which they were the first guitar-based to be signed to.

“Do I really need to give an introduction? Must the artist bleed over the new production?” sings Smith in the short piano opener 'When I Was Wild'. MAXIMO PARK surely doesn’t need an introduction, and after one minute of balladesque introspection the typical MAXIMO PARK frenzy breaks in with the album's title track. It's a song from the same category as early hits like 'Apply Some Pressure' or 'Our Velocity' with its nervous rhythms, the controlled mania of Smith's vocals and the melodic guitar hooks. Despite the three-year-break 'The National Health' is no departure from all the MAXIMO PARK trademarks and the band, if at all, only carefully tests new ground. The more mellow and romantic side with milder tempos and irresistibly smooth Brit Pop melodies is perhaps a bit more prominent here than on earlier albums, and songs like 'The Undercurrents' or 'Reluctant Love' are perfect Brit Pop for all young student couples who ‘spent the summer kissing in a basement room, learning all the rules’, as Smith sings in 'Write This Down'. But the overflowing energy and euphoria is back with fast-paced songs as ' Until The Earth Would Open', 'Wolf Among Men' or the album closer 'Waves Of Fear'.

So MAXIMO PARK is back on the plan with their fourth album, and basically they carry on where they stopped and with what propelled their rapid career. To the relief of most fans, I guess, but perhaps MAXIMO PARK should be musically a bit more adventurous and more willing to re-invent themselves to stand the test of time for a few more years. However, 'The National Health' is still a fine album full of compelling sing-a-longs and Indie anthems – just as you would expect from MAXIMO PARK.


01. When I Was Wild (1:02)
02. The National Health (2:59)
03. Hips And Lips (3:31)
04. The Undercurrents (3:59)
05. Write This Down (3:13)
06. Reluctant Love (3:17)
07. Until The Earth Would Open (3:15)
08. Banlieue (2:49)
09. This Is What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted (3:52)
10. Wolf Among Men (2:51)
11. Take Me Home (2:54)
12. Unfamiliar Places (3:47)
13. Waves Of Fear (2:41)


Paul Smith – lead vocals
Archis Tiku – bass guitar
Tom English – drums
Duncan Lloyd – electric guitar, backing vocals
Lukas Wooller – keyboards


Cover Picture

maximopark nationalhealth


Music: 7.5
Sound: 9
Extras: -
Total: 8.25 / 10

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