Risk to Exist
“What did we do to you to deserve this?” Maxïmo Park’s behatted frontman Paul Smith sings on the opening salvo from his band’s sixth album. Built around a swaggering 1980s pop chorus, the track directs its anger at Britain’s elitist society: “You’re doing everything in your power to preserve this / Let’s all pretend to tell the truth.” It’s this sociopolitical edge, paired with insanely catchy melodies, that has kept Maxïmo Park in the game for so long. In the 12 years since they pulled A Certain Triggeron indie guitar rock, many of their contemporaries have disappeared up their own skinny-jeaned butts, and although the follow up to 2014’s Too Much Information hardly reinvents the agit-pop formula, it’s certainly the Newcastle band’s most politically driven. Smith has always been a deft lyricist and while the songs tackle many of the problems the world faces today, there’s a hip-swaying funkiness in the frenetic angular rhythms (especially on The Hero, with its backing from Low’s Mimi Parker) that helps the listener swallow these bitter pills.