In the past, you?ve always been able to rely on the inimitable Warp Records to release those obscure gems from the most leftfield of electronic artists, from Aphex Twin through to the likes of Prefuse 73 and Autechre. So to see Maximo Park** added to their roster - a band who, in the most simple of terms are part of the ?angular pop-rock? movement is something of a surprise. It would also lead you to believe that in the long run, the ?Park must be something special - you?d be right.
I keep reading reviews where we?re told that Band X has a record filled with singles, a true collection of great songs that people can sing along to, hum in the shower and dance like a wild fool at indie discos all over the country, but I honestly have yet to hear anything that works as coherently and is as effortlessly fun as ?A Certain Trigger?. With the slowly fading opening rhythm of ?Signal and Sign? comes sporadic guitar and then before you can gather yourself, the album bursts into life, setting a manifesto for your next 40 minutes of listening. Every chorus as life-affirming as the last, every verse a singalong delight. Second single ?Apply Some Pressure? hasn?t lost an inch of class since its release earlier this year. A moody stomp through hook-after-hook of simple excitement.
There is something quite delightful about listening to a massive refrain sung in a proper Northern accent, with no attempt to try and sing in a faux-American whine. You find yourself singing the word ?romance? in the glee-ridden chorus to ?Graffiti? in the same way as frontman Paul Smith croons. It?s little touches like this that make the whole record feel honest, natural and provides enough of the sound of ?now? to appeal to nigh-on everyone who hears it.
Penultimate track ?Acrobat? projects a Maximo Park less keen to send people flying around a dancefloor. A droning organ plays over an almost industrial beat, all around a light tempo, whilst an almost-whispered monologue makes it all sound like an attempt to soundtrack the closing scenes of a film. It works for sure and the chorus pins the song together excellently, but you just worry slightly that it could be an attempt at indulgence. In fairness though, the lyricism and atmosphere that makes the rest of the album so listenable prevails and any accusations of pretension can be quashed by virtue of the simple fact that it breaks up the close of the album so perfectly.
?A Certain Trigger? puts Maximo Park firmly above their more obvious contemporaries and pushes the oft-limited boundaries of their sub-genre by creating a record that just feels natural to them, rather than setting out to try and sound like something else specific. The result is a magnificent album where every verse fills you with excitement for the next chorus, where wide-scoping fields of sound work in unison to stage the perfect pop-rock riot and where every meticulously crafted melody comes back to haunt you when you least expect it. You?ll be humming little else for a long time to come.
9Colin Roberts's Score