Album Review Maximo Park - The National Health

You won’t be disappointed, but you won’t be itching for more.

Post-punk revivalism spent years dictating British alternative music. Boys in Burberry, V-neck jumpers, telecasters, and twang were well represented. From The Strokes to Editors, Bloc Party to The Rakes, Vines and Hives and Libertines with Archdukes and Kooks – it was undeniable, and inescapable.

Fast forward half a decade. Of that graduating class, it seems few bands have maintained respectable reviews whilst carrying a fanbase. Maximo Park are one of them. And hey, they’ve stayed in the charts as well. Their latest offering is polished, refined, and almost… sterile? The production is glossy and the songs well rounded. But for every slaved-over bassline, there’s a wasted opportunity for angularity and ruggedness.

By no means is this a poor record: It’s a fun listen and it’s capable of evoking some passion and feeling. Perhaps it’s mid-noughties nostalgia (does that exist on Tumblr yet?), but I’d rather some of these smooth edges to be roughed up, for some angularity and rawness. ‘Reluctant Love’ seems a frustrating example of this: There’s a tidy melody and a strong atmosphere hiding somewhere in there, but it’s not given any space to show itself.

The major issue with Maximo Park’s latest offering is that there really isn’t one. Everything seems so overanalysed and nothing seems spontaneous. At the end of The National Health, you won’t be disappointed, but you won’t be itching for more – and that’s the best way to summarise it.


Tags: Maximo Park, Album Reviews, Reviews

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