Single Review: Maximo Park – Get High (No, I Don’t)

By on Monday, 10th April 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

There’s fun and often an element of embarrassment in listening to songs you used to love from a decade ago. At the time, practically every music fan I knew in 2006 liked Bloc Party. Because I have been a synth geek for ages, they thought I did too. Nope, never got into them. I heard ‘Banquet’ on SiriusXM last week and thought to myself, oh god, that didn’t age well at all. (Bloc Party’s album ‘Hymns’ last year, on which some people accused them of trying to become Radiohead, did them no favours.) On the other side of the country were Maximo Park, who would make their name on herky-jerky rock. While they’ve evolved and taken on politics (2012’s ‘The National Health’) and took a concerted step back from their usual in-your-face stance (2014’s ‘Too Much Information’), so far the early signs are good that the Geordies appear to be going back to what made fans fall in love with them in the first place.

Instead of trying to go back and play a young man’s game, the latest single smartly acknowledges – in a wry way, mind – that Maximo Park are no longer the young whippersnappers on the cover of NME that they used to be. The lyrical content of ‘Get High (No I Don’t)’ is not unlike Field Music’s ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’. That is, as we age (sob!), it’s true that we do grow wiser and more responsible, but who doesn’t get all misty-eyed over the days when we could party into the wee hours and still make it to work the next day and not feel like death warmed over? However, unlike that entry from their Sunderland mates, there’s a sinister subtext here. How far do you want to push this? And do you really want to be bad?

Maximo Park have even constructed this song so that it feels like you’re stuck inside a dance club: there’s no escaping the throbbing bass line throughout. (Speaking of the bass line, I’ve only just learned that following the departure of Archis Tiku, ex-Hot Club de Paris band member Paul Rafferty played bass on Maximo’s forthcoming sixth album and is their touring bassist.) This is a nice progression from the similarly bass-heavy ‘Brain Cells’ from ‘Too Much Information’.

Singer Paul Smith is on fine form too, back to being his cheeky Maximo self after indulging himself with a debut solo album 2 years ago. His vocals flit around balletically on the verses but then speed up and turn frenetic as they head for the chorus, “the language you use / just gives me the blues / it’s what you intended to do”. A strategically placed drum roll leads Smith to a shouting match with himself, where the fun loving and wicked are pitted against the virtuous and responsible. “Do you want to get high? / Do you want to unwind?”, Smith asks in a sardonic tone. So which is it? Sinner or saint, trust me, you’re going to keep pressing play on this single. Welcome back, Maximo Park. We’ve missed you.

9/10

‘Get High (No, I Don’t)’, Maximo Park’s current single, is out now on Daylighting. Sixth album ‘Risk to Exist’ is scheduled for release on the 21st of April. To flip through our past coverage of the Geordie band here on TGTF, go here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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