Maxïmo Park - Quicken the Heart
Having been awarded the accolade of my album of 2007 (surely the highest honour to achieve in the music biz), Maxïmo Park have a lot to live up to with Quicken the Heart. Roping in producer Nick Launay, man behind previous Nick Cave and Yeah Yeah Yeahs records, was a promising move and first single The Kids are Sick Again indicated they were still willing to throw in however many choruses they liked into one song. Now the wait is over: it's been out a week, and so the only question is does that title keep its word?
Thump-a-thump-thump indeed, pulses are go! While there are no major deviations for Quicken the Heart to leapfrog Our Earthly Pleasures in the quality stakes, the songs here are distinctly Maxïmo and have a distinct groove to them - in fact, out of the three albums making up their so-called 'pop trilogy', this is probably the one most likely to get you mirroring leading man Paul Smith's hyperactive onstage dancing. Wraithlike kicks the party off, as all best album openers do, with a big ol' siren and, over the course of a zippy 35 minutes, the listener is treated to a masterclass in articulate indie pop.
With the synths given a bigger role in the mix than ever before, there's a heightened new wave vibe, leading to album highlight Let's Get Clinical, the best - and only? - indie disco riff on Olivia Newton John you'll hear featuring the sexed-up come-on, 'I'd like to map your body out/Inch by inch, north to south/And I'm free for circumnavigation'. Elsewhere, it's business as usual, Smith's wry lyrics wrapped around twitchy, melodic and chopped-up pop songs, which are only matched in hooks by their utter Englishness, running the gamut from boring summer holidays, roller discos and fireworks in Brixton. Catch you getting down to this on In Another World's revolving dancefloor in the middle of the river, yes?