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Maxïmo Park: Our Earthly Pleasures

B+
Album: Our Earthly Pleasures
Label: Warp

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Our Earthly Pleasures doesn't quite measure up to Maxïmo Park's blistering debut, A Certain Trigger, nor is it the kind of purposeful stride forward that the band's Tyne-and-Wear mates The Futureheads and Field Music recently delivered. But it's a fine follow-up, and those are so hard to find in the UK rock scene that this one practically feels like a triumph. Songs like "Our Velocity" and "Your Urge" maintain the headlong drive of Maxïmo Park's early singles, albeit with more polish, while the spot-on pop anthems "Girls Who Play Guitars" and "Books From Boxes" burst with the kind of full, complex melodies that few punk-inspired bands attempt. On the whole, Our Earthly Pleasures is a sprightly, winsome record, even if, in second-album terms, it's more Pretenders II than The Bends.