Label: Prolifica Inc
Released: 26th February 2021
From five down to three, there’s no mistaking that Maxïmo Park have changed considerably since breaking through with ‘A Certain Trigger’ way, way back in 2005 – yet their seventh LP ‘Nature Always Wins’ remains packed with the quality that has seen them become such a mainstay in the indie world.
The first release without original keyboardist Lukas Wooller, there’s a distinct increased reliance on Duncan Lloyd’s guitar for riffs with the synths generally setting the mood. Keyboard duties are expertly covered by touring member Jemma Freese, whose backing vocals also add a welcome depth throughout, while drummer Tom English’s pounding rhythms provide perhaps more impetus than ever before.
‘Baby Sleep’ may just be the best song the band have released for a decade – complete with signature angular guitars, Paul Smith’s distinctive lyrics and a chorus that’s destined for mumbled repetition as the kettle boils.
As is commonplace, Smith’s words feel ripped from the pages of literature, and yet this feels like the closest these motifs are to his own emotions, fears and insecurities – issues of guilt, privilege and anxiety are all high on the agenda. Familiar political frustrations sit alongside intensely personal anecdotes while the lyrical content matures as the trio settle into life as veterans of the scene.
Opening track ‘Partly Of My Making’ sounds produced for The Enemy’s ‘Music For The People’, but ‘Versions Of You’ is straight out of the traditional Maxïmo Park playbook and from here on through to the sprawling closer ‘Children Of The Flatlands’ it’s pretty clear these songs couldn’t have been made by anyone else.
This is exactly what die-hard fans will have hoped for, stacked with catchy art-pop singles and far too close to home dystopian visions. Who knew indie landfill could last this long?