In an age when listeners are more prone to only dip into a few token tracks of a band for individual song downloads its therefore all the more refreshing to find an album where the whole collection of songs is so engaging that it can be left on repeat. Not all of these Maximo Park tunes stood out immediately to me on this new release but after 4 or 5 plays the winsome lyrics of Mr Smith and music hooks had weaved their magic and I became totally immersed in this album. There is a cohesiveness on The National Health that becomes more pleasing with every play as 'the Park' seem to have fused together the best of all their works to date. Whatever the medical state of this nation Maximo Parks album certainly passes its fitness test with a clean bill of health!
I only started listening to Maximo Park about 6 months ago having been lent the first CD A Certain Trigger by a friend who used to play keyboards in a band that I played drums in. The CD sat around for a while and I played bits of the songs but never really listened. When I really did start to listen I became hooked and have since bought all the CDs.
The National Health is excellent. There are no bad tracks though some are more stand out than others. People will have their own favourites but for me the title track, Undercurrents, Hips and Lips, Banlieu, Wolf Among Men and Waves of Fear are the best.
All the tracks have a sonic richness and variety which excites and interests. In the earlier albums there will often be 2 sonically different bridges per song which is pretty impressive. The songs are all quite short in conventional terms but are extremely well crafted. Could they be a bit longer?
Musically there seem to be a lot of influences going on with almost 80s electro-pop, 90s swooping keys and the hint of Led Zep in Waves of Fear.
The overall sound is more polished and perhaps grown up from the first 2 albums and the content is less "edgy"
I think Paul Smith is at his best writing love songs but there is a lot of lyrical interest and intelligence going on which just makes you want to listen to what he has to say
I'm not really sure why Maximo Park aren't better known in the UK
This is a really good album and deserves a great deal of credit
O.K. I'll make this quick. First up, it's not a protest album despite the title. If you've heard of Maximo Park before then there are no surprises here it's more of the same, just better. It has the quality of a greatest hits album, with no filler to waste your time. Better than their last two and as good as their first. If you're a fan you'll be happy, if you're undecided give a try, it's worth it.
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I always have an mp3 disc in my car with 6 albums on it (a hangover from a 6 CD multichanger) and replace albums as I get tired of them, or I need the space for new ones. I can't bring myself to remove this album, even though albums are stacking up on my computer. To me, all Maximo Park albums tend to sound the same at first listening, but hook you in somehow; this album is no exception. Definitely passes the car test!
I bought this on the basis of a couple of songs I'd heard on the radio. I've always been aware of Maximo Park and liked the odd song but never bought anything by them. This is an excellent album all the way through and I haven't done my usual trick of over listening to just the two or so tracks that I knew before! I'm going to check out more by them now, feel like I've been missing out! I thoroughly recommend this.
I hope that Maximo's Park latest isn't going to get overlooked. I fear it might, just as this band has been criminally overlooked since they formed. This is quality output from a homegrown band at full tilt. Please, please spread the word. Hips and Lips, The Undercurrents, Reluctant Love and This is what becomes of the brokenhearted are divine tunes that simply get better with each play. I salute the lads, The National Health is the best I've heard this year. Congrats, guys!