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Friday, April 27, 2007



Maximo Park "Our Earthly Pleasures"

This year marks about the fifth birthday of the post-punk revival that has seen tightly dressed lads in Europe and cosmopolitan hipsters in America playing danceable rock. Of this clique, Maximo Park are the eccentric artsy and intellectual guys from northeast England who come across as not giving a damn what London and New York is doing. In lyrics and looks, the feeling this five-piece give off is that if they invite too many other people to the party, it might ruin the vibe.

"Our Earthly Pleasures" is scarcely different from the 2005 debut, "A Certain Trigger," but that record was so powerful that evolution was hardly necessary. The grooves are like Devo but with a human heart in lieu of the robots; the guitars are nonfussy, smart and loud; and Paul Smith's unrepentant Geordie accent continues to convey quirky self-deprecation without ever being pathetic. Unlike perhaps some of their more popular peers (Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand), the personality of this band pulls you in over time, as if you're having a conversation with the friendly-but-intense guy in the corner at the party whom you didn't notice at first. It's a conversation that leads to mates for life and long-term relationships, and one suspects that's exactly what these guys want.

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