I don’t think I had fully appreciated how much music Maxïmo Park have made until I researched it – five albums and eighteen singles. As someone more aware of the name Maximo Park rather than having an extensive knowledge of their back catalogue, the band’s latest album Too Much Information sounded strangely familiar.
Too Much Information was originally an EP that grew into an album, which comes across when listening to the album in its entirety. The synth beginning to Give, Get, Take introduces the album as something different from the band’s earlier music, whilst later tracks follow their recognisable guitar motifs (My Bloody Mind). Try to resist the urge to work out what each guitar riff reminds you of, once started it’s hard to stop; think Is It True and Billy Joel’s White Wedding. Too Much Information doesn’t sound experimental, it sounds different – but Maxïmo Park know exactly what they’re doing.
A self-claimed ‘moodier’ album than their earlier music, Maxïmo Park sound darker than indie pop often feels. The lyrics of Leave This Island echo the sounds of sadness, whilst My Bloody Mind offers an upbeat chorus to sing-along to gloomy lyrics: “Why do I long for a lie?”. So the music doesn’t sound far from the band’s earlier stuff, but it’s the change in the lyrics and lead singer Paul Smith’s melancholic voice that makes the album sound darker.
My personal favourite from the album is Where We’re Going, a modern ballad to end the album. With pleasant harmonies and a dreamy feel, it leaves the listener with a touch of hope for the band’s happiness.
Despite not being completely taken with Too Much Information, I appreciate what Maximo Park are doing; with their name and reputation, it would have been easy to reel off more of the same old stuff. However as a collective the album is merely decent. Part of me feels it should have been left to an EP. Fortunately, the band have also created their own beer to accompany their forthcoming album, brilliantly called Maximo Number 5 – this is probably worth checking out.