Having read the other reviews, I'd say that I was somewhere in between in my reaction to the Park's latest.
Given that the release date of this album was in my calendar for months, it would be fair to say that I was very much looking forward to a listen and expectations were high.
I must say however, that I wasn't blown away on the initial play. Yet I think this was more of a case of heightened anticipation and the inevitable comparisons with A Certain Trigger and Our Earthly Pleasures.
What the album does lack compared with those first two is that standout killer track that sucks you into the album and prompts you to compulsively play it. For me, it was Our Velocity and I Want You to Stay on the first two which got me hooked and keen to explore the other tracks.
So in that sense, I'll agree with the negative review here in saying that The Kids are Sick Again isn't the strongest single Maximo Park have ever released.
But don't despair... to nick one of Paul's lyrics "it's a grower" and my persistence has paid off in hitting the repeat button. The sound is still them (if a little less guitar heavy) and the lyrics still mark them out as one of the most insightful and poetic bands we have in this country.
There's some cracking tracks which I've really warmed to - Let's Get Clinical, I Haven't Seen Her in Ages, Calm - and I've got a funny suspicion that they will all sound great when I go and see them live tomorrow.
Whether the new tracks will match up to their predecessors however is another matter.
To put it simply, if you like the Park, you'll probably like Quicken the Heart, though you might not like it as much as their previous albums.