Every single time you start to really like ‘Too Much Information’, every moment like the ‘True Faith’-indebted ‘Leave This Island’, or the heartstring tugging ‘Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry’ or even the hint of more angular times of ‘Drinking Martinis’, something soon comes along that annoys.
It’s generally lyrical. “We went through the movies / And you explained the subtext”, Paul Smith informs us during ‘Where We’re Going’ and you’re forced to wonder exactly how annoying it would be if DVD night was mostly about your beloved explaining the deeper meaning behind each film.
So it’s not a question of ‘Too Much Information’ as the manner by which that information is delivered. There are a lot of words in this, their fifth album, and yes, they have always been a literate band, but here it often seems somewhat forced. As if they’d spent much of time in the studio going: “Lads. We’re Maxïmo Park. We’re clever, and that. Shall we prove it by regurgitating this dictionary”.
Hence lines like “Have you ever been compelled / By a protagonist who knows you far too well”, which clunk out of the traps, hang around awkwardly and then slink off when the realise they aren’t as smart as they thought. It’s more of a shame when you realise that a lot of ‘Too Much Information’ is actually pretty likeable. That New Order-esque, electronic drum thud of ‘Leave This Island’ is really, genuinely great and ‘Give, Get, Take’ is as sprightly and spring heeled a track as they’ve made for years.
When they’re not absolutely desperate to demonstrate the extent of their intelligence they’re still capable of making something with merit.
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