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Maxïmo Park: Quicken The Heart

 

C+
Album: Quicken The Heart
Label: Warp

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When Maxïmo Park followed up the thrillingly jagged A Certain Trigger with the solidly similar Our Earthly Pleasures, the Newcastle quintet established that it wasn’t going to be the kind of band to pursue wild, self-indulgent experiments from record to record. Maxïmo Park’s third LP, Quicken The Heart, is equally reassuring—sometimes to the point of tedium. There’s still some juice left in Maxïmo Park’s tight retro-rock, particularly when it turns explosively poppy, as on the final 45 seconds of “The Penultimate Clinch.” But even on A Certain Trigger, the band sometimes seemed like little more than skilled purveyors of cheap thrills, and here—with fewer memorable songs to lean on—their throwback chug-and-slash feels even less essential. Quicken The Heart contains a few songs as good as Maxïmo Park’s best, including the wistful, relatively low-key lost-love lament “I Haven’t Seen Her In Ages.” It’s just that the worthy material is getting harder to extract from the filler.