Maximo Park - The National Health

Well, there is one positive thing you can say about this crappy government - it can serve as inspiration for some pretty great music. Nothing like a bit of discontent to get those creative juices flowing, as Newcastle natives Maximo Park prove with their cracking new album.

As you would expect from an album entitled The National Health, the subject matter deals with sickness - sickness of the heart, the soul, one's identity and striving to gain back some shred of dignity. Starting off with the sedate 'When I Was Wild', with just Paul Smith, a mournful piano and some sad strings, things then kick off with the scintillating title track. It is everything the die-hard MP fan could hope for: "I wouldn't bet my life / Maybe things will change tomorrow." 'Hips and Lips' follows, understated at first then exploding in a full-band cacophony. As with the rest of the album, the protagonist is trying to deal with the mixed signals he is receiving - from a lover, from the government, it seems no one is giving a straight answer ("You're a puzzle to me / And you always will be").

Yet despite the stark subject matter, the uplifting music offers some semblance of hope, as in the lovely 'Undercurrents': "I won't forget love / Will you forgive me?" The spitfire of 'Until The Earth Would Open' and the creepy 'Balleue' show the dynamics the album explores - from the quirky dark pop of 'Reluctant Love' to the techno-infused indie like the wonderful 'Write This Down.'

The rest of the album does not disappoint. Other highlights include the gorgeous 'This Is What Becomes Of the Brokenhearted' ("The biggest mistake of all / I didn't return your call") and the rousing 'Wolf Among Men'. Finishing off with a the guitar chiming 'Waves of Fear", fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The NHS may be in a mess, but Maximo Park are still going strong.

Overall

7

out of 10

Last updated: 18/04/2018 08:26:28

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