Post-punk redux

Maximo Park, Paradise Rock Club, July 11, 2007
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  July 16, 2007
SCOLD: But at the Paradise, Maximo Park emphasized celebration.

Hyperactive. That’s the best way to describe Maximo Park singer Paul Smith. Sporting a bowler hat and a Vivienne Westwood tie, he leapt off risers and scissor-kicked like a young Ray Davies at the Paradise on July 11. He also paused to discuss the issue of English bands who try to “break” into the US. “What if America doesn’t want to be broken, but nuzzled and scolded occasionally?” he posited. “That’s what we’re here for, and that’s what this is.” And then they played “The Coast Is Always Changing,” a song about youth, loss, and change.

Hailing from Newcastle, Maximo Park are part of Britain’s ongoing post-punk revival. Smart lyrics, agitated guitars, and short, sharp shocks are all part of their appeal. They also enjoy the comfort of a good pop hook, and that helped their 2005 debut, A Certain Trigger (Warp), earn a Mercury Prize nomination.

Back home, where their second album, Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp), hit #2, Maximo Park play to 5000 fans at a shot. Their show at the 600-capacity Paradise (moved from Great Scott to accommodate a larger crowd) was the start of a 14-date North American club tour, and it included most of the new disc. Self-doubt and social criticism are part of the Maximo Park package, but at the ’dise, Smith emphasized celebration. At their best, the band created coiled tension and slashing release.

Backstage, following the 70-minute set, Smith suggested that the less obvious strengths of Our Earthly Pleasures “will reveal themselves over time.” Those new tunes were hardly duds; they just didn't quite whip up a frenzy.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Ray Davies, Vivienne Westwood, Maximo Park,  More more >
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