An essential part of any band's rites of passage - it's Geordie post-punkers Maximo Park's turn to try their hand at that notoriously problematic second album.
Still, two years of constant touring since their debut appears to have paid off: Our Earthly Pleasures arrives positively brimming with potential hits. Lead single ''Our Velocity'', is a punchy statement of intent, full of 80s choc-a-block synths and driving harmonies.
Opener, ''Girls Who Play Guitars'' is equally attention grabbing. With a chorus that kicks in a mere ten seconds into the vocal line, it's the kind of instant gratification demanded of a band with one critically acclaimed debut under their belt and one eye on a busy festival season.
It's certainly an album that evokes visions of delirious summertime hedonism: its momentum designed for haphazard jumping about in crowds, one sweaty fist in the air whilst the other grapples with a plastic cup of warm lager. Bring it on.
Amongst all the staccato guitars and the steady onslaught of singer Paul Smith's lyrics though, the album perhaps lacks the obvious stand-out tracks of its predecessor.
The relentless energy never lets up, but midway through this record there is a noticeable lull in potency. The aptly named 'The Unshockable' is in danger of becoming just that, serving up what begins to sound like just another indistinct jerk-rock anthem.
The album rallies towards the end, with the anthemic ''Sandblasted'' and ''Set Free'' and the liltingly gentle introduction to ''Parisian Nights''.
Fans will find plenty to love about Our Earthly Pleasures, which helps cement Maximo Park's reputation for producing rough-edged, power-driven pop of the highest calibre. But this is a record dogged by inconsistency, which you can't help feeling would have benefited immeasurably from a greater degree of light and shade. A missed opportunity. --Melanie Jane Spence
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MAXIMO PARK Our Earthly Pleasures (2007 UK 12-track CD album following up their gold-selling Mercury-nominated debut A Certain Trigger produced by Gil Norton [Pixies Foo Fighters] it boasts huge radio singles and fantastically developed emotional songs including the single Our Velocity picture sleeve with lyric booklet WARPCD155)