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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs To Remember, 14 April 2006
This review is from: Missing Songs (Audio CD)
This album is a collection of nine tracks(B sides and non-LP) plus three original demo versions,comprising a real patchwork quilt compilation from Maximo Park. Raw,intense(particularly the opening track "A19")and very new 60s and 70s influenced,these songs from Britain's most exciting new band(some would say that was open to debate)were the blueprint for greater things....

On "A19",a driving guitar intro fuels sharp intense lyrics and Paul's voice on top urgent form. Some extraordinary and very original use of words("dull metal moans",describing metal railings);also I've never heard his voice sound so amazing,dramatic and in its intensity,encompassing desperation,hopelessness,cynicism and a strong dash of "angry young man" syndrome. Driving guitar,Lukas Wooller's keyboards and drumwork back up these vocals, in an extremely compelling song which describes the writer's factual and lyrical journey down the A19 towards a better future.

This song hooked me straight away on first hearing. There is a prophesy within the last verse which seems to signify no change for anyone.Powerful lines to think on,a very clever observation.

A beckoning start to this album and it doesn't stop there.

Other tracks on this compilation include "Isolation",Maximo's minute and a half(approx) of John Lennon's lament. I sensed Lennon's ghost appearing fleetingly in the lyrics for about 30 seconds. A track to make you think.

Further memorable tracks include "A Year Of Doubt"-very 60s influenced with a jolly bouncy tune and jangly guitar,but the words carry cynicism.The combination of the two makes interesting listening. Much influence from Morrissey here,but without his agonising morbid depressive attitude. In fact this song has been given very positive treatment. Witty,lively,cheerful through the gloom,it stands up as one of the best songs on the album.

"Stray Talk" is my favourite track on here. It is a lovely acoustic ballad,with beautiful well-rounded solo guitar accompaniment to Paul's solo voice singing a la McCartney,standing up adequately without extra instrumental backing.(It reminded me of "Blackbird" in places). A yearning,charming,articulate delivery on this one.

This song perhaps shows off Paul's vocal talent more than any other and is melodic,witty and bittersweet.

The demo tracks include Maximo's best-known song,"Apply Some Pressure",their rallying-cry to motivation.It still sounds as urgent as it did on "Trigger",if not more so. I almost prefer this more primitive-sounding version to the later polished-up one on "ACT". A very charming version which ends with a hi-hat and a flourish.

"Graffiti", another included demo track with its involved guitars and drums intro,then Paul's voice drifting in with those lyrics. The now almost legendary lines "I'll do graffiti........" still sound as fresh now as they did on "Trigger."The most misconstrued lyrics in pop,perhaps? Well,they've put Maximo on the map,sparking off much controversy,that's for sure. Nice "wall of sound" backup from the band,and ending with lots of harmonious vocals. All together now.........

"Once,A Glimpse" still my favourite Park song,I have to admit.A cornucopia of lyrics and Paul's voice adding its usual passion and charisma,his rich accent very evident.

To sum up,"Missing Songs",while not possessing "Trigger"'s pop style,theatrical slickness and drama,sweeps a refreshing breeze throughout;finally I would say that there are so many good tunes here that sometimes it's hard to choose between them all.

This album carries a rawer energy,powerful hooks and that urgency which is so unique to the Park's music.

Irreplaceable,memorable and deserving of a firm stamp on rock music's history,these songs go very deep.

John Lennon would have totally approved.

Submitted by Juliet R
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Location: London,UK

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