Thursday, June 2, 2005

Music Review: Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger / Live In Tokyo

Maximo Trigger

I love Virgin. They have these listening posts with either preloaded album tracks or those with barcode scanners that allow a shopper to try out tracks before purchasing an album. Plus they have a huge collection of diversified album collection outside specialist stores.

So I was at this Virgin store the other day. I was actually there looking for a couple of horror DVDs. I decided to give Gorillaz another go on the listening post. As reviewed
here, I thought the album was a little shit, and at the end of my ten minutes of torture listening to Damon Albarn's horrific 'singing' I am standing by my conclusion that the album is still a little shit.

Then there was Coldplay's X&Y. The album isn't actually out yet but the listening post is. Listening to X&Y actually gave me goosebumps, I felt I have sinned. It was that crappy. I can see how and why Speed of Sound
lost humiliatingly to Crazy Frog Axel F. The single was, despite its emotional singer, just plain bad.

And...then there was Maximo Park's A Certain Trigger. Now this is something. Something amazing that is. Despite being their studio debut, A Certain Trigger already comes in a limited edition package - inclusive of a Live in Tokyo CD. This Northern English band sure goes around. Either that or they are damn cocky. Well the Japanese aren't exactly known for their sophistication in musical taste so the bonus CD was taken with a pinch of salt and did not influence my decision to try out the album.

I do have to confess that it was pretty difficult getting through the first track. With a weird looking chap on the Oasis listening post and being surrounded by four ten-year old 'hoodies', it was a nerve wreaking experience. The fact that Virgin has placed the posts on the edge of the top floor enabling me a bird's eye view on the many passing hotties did not help either.

Signal and Signs, the first track wasn't a great opener but I sort of half expected it. Nobody puts their best track down front to be trampled upon by immature reviewers like me. Fortunately by the time I got into Graffiti, I was nodding my head positively. Unfortunately for me, those fat kids were really starting to annoy me. I would have thrown them down but it would be illegal and I didn't have the strength to hurl oversized babies.

So here I am lying on the bed listening to the album while writing the review to be published later today. Jennifer just bought a 19" LCD TFT that was a pain to set up because of a defective ATi display driver. She is a sleep now while I am free to enjoy my second run on the album.

A couple of misses but the majority are worthwhile. Graffiti was truly enjoyable while Apply Some Pressure is a catchy power rock track. I Want You To Stay with its great vocals by Paul Smith and very nice guitar interludes. The vocals are typical of Northern English accent and lacks the fake punchiness of other vocalists (like Oasis's).

With hints of the catchiness usually associated with the other eccentric band - Kaiser Chiefs and the guitar style of Bloc Party, I believe this to be a magnificent debut. Never have I actually heard anything this raw in the indie-rock scene since The Libertines stormed their way through the underground scene. The production value isn't solid but it does lend to its authencity.

Maximo Trigger

The bonus live with seven tracks was weak though. It lacks some of the energy usually associated with live performances plus the sound is too 'clean', too 'perfect', as though recorded in a studio. The Japs were actually clapping! What were they thinking?

Album: 8/10
Bonus live: 4/10

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