Maximo Park – Too Much Information

It must have seemed all so easy for Tyneside quintet Maximo Park at one point in the not too distant past. Debut album A Certain Trigger sold over three hundred thousand copies, bagging a Mercury Prize nomination in the process back in 2005. The follow up Our Earthly Pleasures also went gold, the band tapping into a ready-made audience for their spiky Post Punk as indie guitar music enjoyed a massive resurgence of interest during this period.
They were a prime example of a band in the right place at the right time – since then, the parade of successful British guitar acts has continued to dwindle and the days of gold discs and massive media exposure for bands like Maximo Park are long gone.
Too Much Information is the band’s fifth album and a valiant stab at recapturing the glory days –this is a record studded with some of the very  best songs the band have ever recorded but  it is ultimately let down by a number of very average tracks and an unevenness in terms of their approach.

There seems to be two sides to Maximo Park on this album; the more guitar oriented side, harking back to their Post Punk roots, and the newer, fresher Electro Pop of songs like ‘Leave This Island’ that present the band in a completely different and curiously better light.

‘Leave This Island’ is a cracking song and in different times would be making a determined assault on the singles charts while ‘Brain Cells’, ‘Is It True’ and ‘Drinking Martinis’ scale similar peaks of excellence, exploring the eighties New Wave of bands like Depeche Mode and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark with some success.
This new direction seems like a good fit for the band but their determination to retain a link to the sound that first brought them to prominence is ultimately this records undoing.
‘Her Name Was Audre’ and ‘I Recognise The Light’ are unexceptional examples of songs that would have fit snugly on their earlier albums but here they jar, sounding out of place and incongruous.
It would be very easy to summarily dismiss Too Much Information as an album from a band that is past their best. But there is enough evidence here to support the notion that Maximo Park are worthy of renewed attention – a little more consistency and this could have been something special.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)