-->
Music

Maximo Park: Too Much Information

Too Much Information is easily one of the most uninspired albums to be released in 2014.


Maximo Park

Too Much Information

Label: V2
US Release Date: 2014-02-11
UK Release Date: 2014-02-03
Amazon
iTunes

Maximo Park started out as a fairly respected member of the post-punk revival in the early 2000s. It’s sad to say that their newest album would have been more enjoyable if the British rockers claimed it was a parody album. It sounds harsh, but Too Much Information is easily one of the most unashamedly campy and cheesy albums released in recent memory. The band never has a moment of self-realization, playing nearly every song with a straight face, making the entire enterprise cringe-worthy.

Too Much Information starts off fairly strong. The one-two punch of “Give, Get, Take” and “Brain Cells” opens the album. “Give, Get, Take” is undoubtedly the catchiest song here, keyboards infused with sugary energy push the song along and the instantaneous chorus is sure to be a winner live. “Brain Cells” has Maximo Park doing their best impression of the Turtles and contains Paul Smith’s best vocal performance. Things spiral downward at an uncomfortable pace afterwards. “Lydia, the Ink Will Never Dry” has a riff from the softest of ‘70s soft-rock, “My Bloody Mind” attempts to have a heavy stomp but fails miserably, and “I Recognize the Light” sounds scary similar to Love’s “A House is Not a Motel” though Maximo Park’s version is leagues below Love’s classic track.

Those songs suffer from general instrumentation issues but a good chunk of the other tracks become nearly unlistenable thanks to unprecedented levels of camp. Right after the solid opening duo “Leave this Island” comes in, one of the most wince inducing songs released this year. “Have you ever been compelled / Under a spell / From a protagonist who knows you far too well,” is the opening. It’s the most laughably terrible line from an album full of cheese infused lyrics. Maximo Park play it so straight that the laughs come from how unintentionally bad it is. The cheesy beat and synths that dominate “Leave this Island” seem straight from a Flight of the Concords’ record or a Mighty Boosh sketch. Half of the time it’s hard to tell if Maximo Park want to actually be taken seriously, if they do they’ve failed tremendously.

Smith’s vocal work is a big part of the problem. His bloated croon quickly becomes annoying and he seems completely incapable of holding the heavier songs together. “My Bloody Mind” has a few sections that seem to have been stolen from a better song. When Maximo Park aren’t trying to do an overblown rocker they can be quite good, and once Smith avoids his talk-singing he gets some compelling moments. Those great sections aren’t so much few and far between as they are completely engulfed. The high energy shot of “Her Name Was Audre” is the only high point on the second half of the album, acting as a brief respite between subpar songs, sandwiched between the bland “Midnight On the Hill” and the sappy closer “Where We’re Going”. Brimming with half formed ideas and floundering melodies, Too Much Information is easily one of the most uninspired albums released so far in 2014. Hopefully, nothing else this insipid will be released this year.

3
Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image