Album: Maxïmo Park, The National Health (V2)


There's a drive and urgency about Maxïmo Park's The National Health that perfectly matches frontman Paul Smith's dominant lyrical theme, of taking arms against a sea of troubles in order to forge a better life for yourself.

It's classic existentialist rock, delivered with a hurtling momentum in songs like the title-track and "Waves of Fear", garnished elsewhere with early-Eighties new-wave flavours in the juddering gothick riff and predatory murmur of "Banlieue", and the Cure-tinged melody of "Reluctant Love". Less welcome, though doubtless commercially prudent, are the touches of Coldplay creeping into their sound – the piano ostinatos of "This Is What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", and the anthemic ambitions of "The Undercurrents".

Download: The National Health; Waves of Fear; Banlieue