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Maximo Park (formed 2000) Maximo Park is a Tyne and Wear-based alternative rock band, signed to Warp Records. The line-up of the band consists of Paul Smith on vocals, Duncan Lloyd on guitar, Lukas Wooller on keyboard, Archus Tiku on bass and Tom English on drums. Both of their albums have achieved double-platinum status and their debut album was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize in 2005.
Formation: In 2000, Maximo Park formed, taking their name from Maximo Gomez Park in Cuba. In the early months of their inception, the band played a number of small shows in and around their home town, as well as an 'In the City' industry showcase in Manchester.
Originally, Archis and Duncan were the vocalists for the band but they decided that they wanted to recruit a singer so that they could concentrate on writing the songs. Smith was a friend of Tom English's and it was Tom's girlfriend that first spotted Paul singing along to 'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder and suggested that he joined the band.
In March 2004, Maximo Park released a limited edition "7 single, 'Graffiti' that was funded by a friend. They later released a number of home recorded tracks onto vinyl. One of these records made its way into the hands of Steve Beckett, of Warp Records, who promptly signed the band.
Maximo Park's debut album, A Certain Trigger was released in 2005 and sold over 300,000 copies. The album was also nominated for that year's Mercury Music Prize. Musically, Maximo Park are often compared to another band from the North-East, The Futureheads.
In August the next year, Maximo Park began recording their next album, which was produced by Gil Norton. Norton had previously worked with the likes of Throwing Muses, The Pixies, Foo Fighters and Patti Smith. The album was recorded in London. Entitled Our Earthly Pleasures, it was released in April 2007. The lead single from the album was 'Our Velocity'.
In October 2008, Maximo Park released a statement saying that they had started work in Los Angeles on their new album. This time, they had Nick Launay on board as producer. Launay was known for his work with Grinderman, Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Arcade Fire.
Quicken the Heart was released in May 2009. The lead single from the album was 'The 'Kids Are Sick Again'.
Following the release of Maximo Park's sixth studio album, 'Risk To Exist', almost a month ago, and just ahead of a heavy schedule of festival dates, the band ushered in a new season of thrills and spills at Dreamland Pleasure Park in Margate. In the shadow of the Ferris wheel, beside the rattle of the 'Speedway' in The Hall By The Sea the boys from the North East came down to delight the people of the South-East.
The opening weekend of the heritage theme park had been largely blessed with glorious sunshine all day with beach goers and amusement lovers treated to one of the hottest days of the year. By the time Maximo Park had winged their way down south via London St Pancras and the high speed train link the temperatures were only just beginning to subside as the blue skies gave way to a twilight glow.
After the band played out a briefly extended instrumental intro charismatic lead singer Paul Smith also took to the stage to the excitement of the gathered crowd as they tore into the first track off of their latest album, 'What Did We Do To You To Deserve This?' With more moves than a Russian Grand Master Smith owned the stage from beginning to end as Maximo Park quickly set about a potent take on the title track, 'Risk To Exist'. The vocal was superbly set above the dynamics of the tightly bound band as the machine-gun drumming drilled through a blistering rendition of one the album highlights.
Continue reading: Maximo Park - Dreamland, Margate, Kent 27.05.17 Live Review
It only takes a cursory glance at the news most evenings (or an hour in downtown Taunton on a Saturday night) to know that, in 2017, it's a risk to exist. Maximo Park's sixth studio album grasps the contemporary global nettle, seeking to call out those who put lives at risk as the bastards they are. Simultaneously, it calls out for solidarity through common humanity. It was recorded in America two weeks before their 2016 election, so it bears the weighty despair of that unwholesome moral vortex. Unwittingly tapping into the zeitgeist yet further, it was released days after Theresa May opened up another wormhole in the time/truth continuum with the declaration of a UK general election.
How this album is received will depend on whether you've reached compassion fatigue yet, on the lyrics and on how hot you like your Maximo Park served. It stands to reason that many people are hacked off with the bluster of bluffing bureaucrats, and therefore that very many artists will have recorded works in 2016, released in 2017, that reflect disaffection. Music can be an escape from existentially floating around in the brown stuff, or it can be a way of dealing with it, rising above the crud. This album definitely confronts rather than escapes. Its lyrical deliberations on modern life are simple but heartfelt. The words are earnest, gently humane and calmly disapproving, without really being the album's strongest suit either. The musical decision to slow the songs down a little and introduce more of a bass/drums funky groove to their sound also means that there's less of the trademark velocity that characterised their biggest albums so far, "A Certain Trigger" and "Our Earthly Pleasures".
Stand-out tracks are scarce. "Risk To Exist" is classic Maximo Park and evokes the essence of the migrant crisis with impassioned, surging appeals from those who risk their lives for liberty - 'Put your arms around me,/ I've come too far and the ocean's deep./ Show some empathy.' "What Did We Do To You To Deserve This?" gives us a late 70s/early 80s Nile Rodgers guitar groove. Inspired by the banking crisis, it broadens out the attack on greed and mendacity with, 'You forgot to tell the truth, now it's too far away.' Paul Smith's call for unity and tolerance, "The Reason I am Here" encourages us with the lines 'Let's seize the day;/ don't generate antipathy obsessing over history.'
Continue reading: Maximo Park - Risk to Exist Album Review
Andrew Lockwood’s Top Albums of 2014
10) Luke Sital-Singh - 'The Fire Inside'
A mixture of previous EP releases and new material 'The Fire Inside' is a fully loaded debut album from the short listed 'Sound Of 2014' artist. Luke wears his heart on his sleeve through tragedy, torment and failed relationships giving rise to some magical musical moments.
9) Deptford Goth - 'Songs'
The second album from Daniel Woolhouse is a thing of joy that needs to be appreciated without distraction, It's soft, smooth and oh so soothing, it can't fail but to relax and chill you out. If you need to wind down just let it wash over you, you'll feel all the better for it.
8) Perfume Genius - 'Too Bright'
Mike Hadreas has broadened his horizons on this, his fourth album. Here he not only deliveries on his signature piano ballads but also explores new sonic territory to great effect. Too Bright is a multifaceted album full of surprises that never fails to delight.
Continue reading: Andrew Lockwood’s Top Albums Of 2014
The Libertines' first reunion gig in London for four years was a critical success but the crowd were particularly badly behaved. The band's performance was interrupted two songs in by a crowd surge and the concert managers were forced to ask the crowd to stop throwing fireworks at the beginning of the set.
The Libertines' first reunion gig on English soil got off to a rocky start when overzealous fans surged towards the stage whilst the band performed at the British Summer Time gig in Hyde Park, London. This is the first time in four years the group has performed in the capital and their appearance has been praised by critics.
Pete Doherty performing with The Libertines in Glasgow last week.
Continue reading: The Libertines' Highly Praised Hyde Park Gig Interrupted By Surging Fans
With The National Health indie rockers Maximo Park combine equal parts social angst with the hearty doses of romance and everyday commentary in what is very much the bands most true to life foray away from the cliche ridden world of daytime Radio 1 friendly guitar music. The latest album has so far been warmly received by the press and if this, along with the speed in which tickets for their upcoming shows went, is anything to go by then anyone doubting whether the band are still relevant should be replied to with a firm no.
We managed to catch up with frontman Paul Smith to discuss the writing process and his own opinions on the album and just how far he and the band have come since they first emerged on the scene all those years ago.
Continue reading: Maximo Park, Interview
'The National Health" finds Maximo Park playing to their strengths. It's the band's fourth studio album and, whilst they are hardly breaking new ground, either on their own sonic turf, or anyone else's, they appear to have expertly distilled the essence of Maximo Park and managed to filter it neatly into 13 fairly solid tracks, to make up their latest long player.
Continue reading: Maximo Park, The National Health Album Review
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