A Certain Trigger – Maxïmo Park (2005)
For the best part of a decade, beginning just before the turn of the century, a great deal of the music that I was enjoying came through the airing of videos on various satellite TV music stations. There must have been maybe 20 or so stations to choose from, albeit the majority continually aired promos I had little time for.
MTV2 Europe was really the channel of choice given that it heavily focussed on indie music, occasionally airing promos from years gone by but primarily concentrating on the music being released by new and emerging bands.
Maxïmo Park were probably the best example of a band who found their way into my heart courtesy of the television. They had released a number of singles that were on heavy rotation, all of which seemed to be better than the last. They did some interviews for the channel and came across as hard-working decent, level-headed individuals with no hints of arrogance or delusions of grandeur. But then again, that seems to be typical of most people who come from Newcastle in the north-east of England.
I bought the debut album a couple of weeks after its release in May 2005. I already knew three of its tracks through the airing of the promos, and was delighted to discover that the quality was very much maintained across the other ten songs. It was the sort of guitar-led indie-pop that had always appealed to my tastes, going all the way back to the late 70s.
Almost every song was written and recorded as if it could be a fast-paced and energetic single, and yet no two songs sounded the same. My first thoughts were along the lines of them being the 21st century equivalent of Buzzcocks given that many of the song themes were about love and relationships not going quite as smoothly as planned.
The other really charming factor was the way that Paul Smith sang in his strong, local accent and so offered something different in the world of the new indie-pop/rock where even the best UK bands seemed intent on mimicking their American counterparts.
mp3: Maxïmo Park – Apply Some Pressure
One of the reasons that I’ve maintained a long-love for A Certain Trigger over many of the similar type album released in the mid-noughties is that Maxïmo Park turned out to be a great live band, offering up no less than two great experiences in a very short space of time. I first saw them in December 2005 when, such was the demand for tickets, that the show was moved late on from the planned venue of the Queen Margaret Union at Glasgow University to the Barrowlands. It was probably the biggest show the group had played, but if they had any nerves, they didn’t show. A barnstorming run through the album, with a few b-sides and unreleased songs thrown in for good measure, made for a great night.
They were next in the city in February 2006 as the headliners of the NME Awards Tour, a four-band tour of the UK, with the Glasgow venue being the Carling Academy. Proceedings were opened by Mystery Jets, who were followed by We Are Scientists. Next on were Arctic Monkeys, who had taken the indie-world by storm in the period since the tour had been announced. Indeed, the Glasgow show came very shortly after their album had become the fastest-selling debut album in British history, with more than 350,000 copies sold in the first week.
Most ticket-holders were there for the support act and the audience had thinned out by the time Maxïmo Park took to the stage. It would have been easy for them to take the money and go through the motions – but they really upped the ante and showed that while Arctic Monkeys were more than decent on stage, they still had a lot to learn in terms of putting on what would be called a show. Anger really did prove to be an energy that night.
I’ve not maintained the same level of interest in Maxïmo Park over the subsequent years beyond their third album, which is probably to my detriment. If anyone out there has a knowledge of everything the band has released, then a guest ICA would be really appreciated.