Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith has mostly been known for his poetic and romantic lyrics, but on their sixth studio album Risk To Exist, he takes a more direct and political approach.
None are more prominent than on Work and Then Wait, which includes defeatist lines such as “The right-wing views have been getting me down” and “Wage gap gets bigger, doesn’t it make you proud?” before the repetition of “There must be a different way”, clearly marking discontent for the current political climate.
It is hard to ignore Smith’s anger as he continues to criticise the establishment in Make What You Can with lines such as “Parliament laughing in our face”, and “What’s left for me when everyone’s turning right?” in Respond to the Feeling.
Musically too, the band also ventures into new territory. From the slouchy disco vibe of opener What Did We Do to You to Deserve This to the strut of The Hero, there is an upbeat dance feel throughout, with nice use of brass in I’ll Be Around to add an extra dimension.
While there are new ingredients, there are still hints of their earlier angular sound, such as the dissonant The Reason I Am Here, the brooding Get High (No, I Don’t) and the anthemic title track.
The dancey What Equals Love is one of Maximo Park’s finest works, and is a must-listen. It highlights Smith’s more traditional style, exclaiming “What equals love? Because I forgot the equation”.
Maximo Park may have taken their own risk to exist, but they’ve not sounded this alive for a long time.
Edited by Ginny Wong