Album Review Maxïmo Park - Nature Always Wins

Maxïmo Park - Nature Always Wins

There’s no upturning of the band’s musical blueprint, but their social conscience has earned them a third act.

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The last Maxïmo Park record represented a line in the sand; the question that’s been lingering since is whether or not it marked an ending or a beginning. After an entire career spent subtly layering their boisterous brand of indie rock with political undertones, 2017’s ‘Risk to Exist’ was a mask-off moment, on which they made sense of a darkening Western world in confrontational and occasionally excoriating fashion. They set out their ideological stall furiously - physical copies of the album came with a pro-migrant, anti-Department of Work and Pensions zine that Owen Jones chipped into - that ‘Risk to Exist’ could, as the name suggested, have been a logical conclusion for the band. Or, alternatively, the start of a new, less compromising era. Pieced together over the internet by cross-Atlantic necessity with producer Ben Allen, ‘Nature Always Wins’ finds frontman Paul Smith on impassioned form both on political matters - the softly anthemic ‘Why Must a Building Burn’ references both Grenfell and terrorism - and personal ones, too: beneath the freewheeling punk posture of ‘I Don’t Know What I’m Doing’ is an affecting reflection of the anxieties of parenthood. There’s no upturning of the band’s musical blueprint, but their social conscience has earned them a third act, with ‘Nature Always Wins’ a potent way to open it.


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