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Following on from his 2010 debut solo album 'Margins', Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith (with his band The Intimations in tow) is back with his 4-year labour of love, 'Contradictions' on Billingham Records. Smith's own description of the LP as "an alternative pop record that fulfils my own criteria". Recorded mostly between two homes, Hodson's house on the fringes of the Peak District and the intimacy of Paul's living room back up in Newcastle (the pair share production credits on 'Contradictions'), the album's casual and unhurried nature makes for a warm summer sound. Every self-deprecating word is sung through uplifting vocals whilst sparkling guitar melodies radiate like sparks of light glimmering on the water. Ever a slave to his artistic inclination, the grungy 'People On Sunday' was influenced by the 1930 silent German film of the same name whilst the "gaunt scaffolding" referred to in 'Coney Island' is drawn directly from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up - perfectly capturing the carnival of skeletal rollercoasters dominating Coney Island's skyline. Elsewhere 'Fill In The Blanks' touches on the organic folk sound of Bert Jansch and Nic Jones whilst 'I Should Never Know' features the breezy C86 vibe of The Go-Betweens or Teenage Fanclub, and Paul's Teesside take on 50s rock'n'roll star Eddie Cochran rings through 'All The Things You'd Like To Be'-print a song which features Prefab Sprout's Wendy Smith, who guests on the record with her beautifully hazy backing vocals. Also enlisting the skill set of old pal Peter Brewis who provided' 'Quick's sweet piano melody plus Rachel Lancaster of Silver Fox (backing vocals and guitar), the record was laid down entirely by Paul and his Intimations drawing on their collective enthusiasm, vision and sonic expertise to create an album with a clearly defined message.
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