The National Health

Maximo Park

Straight To The Sun Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


There was a time, not too long ago, when British alt-rock took over the FM dial. A seemingly endless supply of bands with fuzzy guitar crunch and driving melodies from our neighbors across the pond kept us in the States on the edge of our seats waiting for the next outfit to trump Oasis. Well, these days we seem to be more fixated on the next 'emo' band from the East Coast to pen that perfect record, though that doesn't mean the U.K. hasn't stopped churning out must hear bands.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Case in point – Maximo Park. Since 2000, the quintet has penned consistently great alt-rock discs with plenty of success. With two gold records and a Mercury Prize nomination to their credit, Maximo Park has put their hats in the ring as the next household name English band.

While they are known for their fast-paced, charged music, Maximo Park throws the listener a curve ball on this disc. Opener “When I Was Wild” is a strategically placed balled with piano and strings. Longtime fans might be left scratching their heads upon hearing this leadoff track, but the band doesn’t waste anytime getting into their trademark sound with the following track, title cut “The National Health.” It features fuzzed-out guitars, vivid organ spots, and giant choruses, and Maximo Park keeps this formula going strong on tracks like “Write This Down,” “Until The Earth Would Open,” and “Hips And Lips.” In other areas, such as “Apply Some Pressure,” they display their skill for universal pop song craft. The band does pause from their amped-up guitars and quirky synths on the acoustic “Unfamiliar Places,” offering a pleasant change of pace.

Though their peers seem content to essentially write the same record over and over, Maximo Park shows tremendous growth here as songwriters. While keeping their high energy intact, they also add electronic flourishes and some gentle moments amid the guitar buzzing. This is another great rock and pop endeavor in an already stunning catalog, and you'd be hard pressed to not find something you aren't enamored with on The National Health

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Straight To The Sun Records, and is used for informational purposes only.