Four years in the making, ‘Contradictions’ is the latest record release by Maximo Park leader Paul Smith. The project, which began life on the road, draws in influences far and wide from the charms of the North East to the gritty sounds of Brooklyn and shows a more vulnerable side to this dynamic lone wolf of pop.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 20 August 2015
Perma-hatted Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith strikes out on his own again for an album of pleasant, serviceable indie-pop that doesn’t sound that far removed from his parent band. Smith has been most impressive of late when producing music outside his comfort zone (his collab with pal David Brewis of Field Music was particularly enjoyable) but this sticks purely to his jangling indie roots.
It’s melodic, it’s charming enough. The opening brace ‘The Deep End’ and ‘Break Me Down’ are both hook filled guitar pop which do more than enough to provide a pleasant listening experience though sound not unlike the guitar based tracks off the last Maximo Park album ‘Too Much Information’. In fact if you put the best tracks off that and the best tracks off this together you’d end up with something better than both of them. ‘Break Me Down’ is particularly impressive sounding like the work of a man who knows all about pop and its mechanics. Smith isn’t your standard indie frontman and seemingly has a lot ideas beneath that hat of his - ‘Before the Perspiration Falls’ has a harder more Wire-ish edge to it and ‘All the Things You’d Like to Be’ hurtles along impressively with Wendy Smith of Prefab Sprout in tow -but the album starts to sound a bit samey after a few tracks and you start to wish he would stretch out of his homely indie sound.
That said not many people can produce sparkling indie-disco friendly pop whilst also having to deal with the stress and discomfort of wearing a hat at every hour of the day.
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