Maximo Park's new album, 'Quicken The Heart' was released last week and I've been listening to it ever since. Then I stopped listening since I don't want to be too familiar with the songs in advance of seeing the lads play live at Brixton next week - I want to hear the new songs freshly played live. I just can't win.
As with the previous two albums, the title is lifted from the lyrics of one of the songs and, in this case, it comes from the first verse of the first song on the record, 'Wraithlike'. 'Wraithlike' also lays down the challenge of the new album with it's manic beat and lyrics suddenly over-ridden by a siren, lending it a sense of urgency and increased pace, an excellent start to the record. It also signals a greater use of synth and sounds on these songs than on previous albums, a smoother production and overall sound.
I think that's the underlying message of the album - it's still the Maximos, still manic punky-pop for jumping round the room to, but more controlled, more thought through and thoughtful, a bit more grown up as their fanbase grows and develops. The songs and production are more mature and more confident, not afraid to experiment and take a few risks while being sure of their groundwork. All in all, this growth is quite impressive, taking the band forward while retaining the core of what makes them a great band.
I got the special edition of the new record, a boxed set of the album and a DVD of the Newcastle gig before Christmas (both in gatefold sleeves) plus a small booklet of photos the band took in Los Angeles where they recorded the album. Mine was signed in gold ink by Lukas. It's a nice edition of the album and very reasonably priced compared to special editions from other bands.
Go on, give it a listen and quicken your heart. There's joy and ecstasy to be had, glory and no little jumping round the room with a silly grin on your face... give it a go and then buy a ticket to your nearest Maximo gig (if any tickets are available).