Maximo Park are release their long awaited fourth album “The National Health” on June 11 via V2.
Three years on from their critically acclaimed album “Quicken the Heart”, with over 2 million copies of their albums sold and even an arena tour of Europe now under their collective belt, “The National Health” sees the band back in riproaring form; more vital, forceful and potent than ever. Recorded with the legendary Gil Norton (who has worked with everyone from The Pixies to Foo Fighters and Patti Smith) in Rockfield, Wales and Moles, Bath, it is at once ferocious and rousing, and a powerful antidote to the anodyne rock and manufactured pop that all too often passes for our music scene these days.
“We’re in a global recession and everyone is being bombarded with bouncy, happy music,” explains frontman Paul Smith. “The nation is out of control and the record is about taking back control, and being a force for change in your own life. It can’t speak for everybody but it has its eyes and ears all around us…that’s always been a Maximo Park thing: look at yourself. See how you relate to yourself and hopefully someone else will have something in common with it. Our songs are built on empathy. I would hope it’s as vital a music as people would want to hear.”
This attitude is epitomized on the title track, which you can listen to over at the band’s website now: http://www.maximopark.com.
A powerful blast of incendiary rock and roll, it harnesses the confusion, agitation and chaos currently seeping through the nation’s veins and jolts it violently awake, creating a persuasive clarion call to arms for the disenchanted. Similarly, “Write This Down” is a headrush of off-beam art pop, with Smith sighing “and then your passion cooled/ you really had me fooled” before launching into the angry chorus of “I won’t always be around/ you’d better write this down”. Elsewhere, “Hips and Lips” crackles with newfound energy and vigour, and the jarring discord and tension simmering below the surface of “Banlieue” is brought noisily to the fore as Smith howls, “Here come the animals” at the climax.
Which is not to say they’ve lost their tender touch – crucially, “The National Health” contains two of their most plaintive love songs to date, with Smith swearing that “this time, I’m not going to lose any momentum” in the lovelorn “Reluctant Love”, and the yearning “The Undercurrents” could possibly be the one of the most exquisite songs they’ve written yet. With “The National Health”, Maximo Park are now working on a considerably larger scale than they ever have before, but they never forget the human connection that ties everything together. Cherish them now.