Maximo Park, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh Festival

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The Independent Culture

"That's the Edinburgh Fringe for you," said Maximo Park singer Paul Smith at this Edge festival show, while the feedback wail that had dogged "Our Velocity" was sorted out. "We're now doing experimental musical theatre, like a drama school company." To which a woman in the audience helpfully piped up: "Take your top off!" It's not like the Fringe at all, then.

Ladies' favourite Smith did take his top off eventually, or at least the jacket of his new bespoke suit – which gives him the air of the Avengers' John Steed when twinned with a bowler hat. Newcastle upon Tyne's Maximos seem like the sort of band who agreeably don't see a gig as being underway until they've started sweating with exertion.

Yet there's also a little something of the emperor's new clothes about the quintet, who are as capable of rather ordinary music as they are soaring pop gems. Most of the tracks here, which spanned their four-year, two-album history, proved to be somewhat perfunctory pub rockers.

That was a mild disappointment, when the band have proven themselves capable of a pop ballad as pristine as "The Coast is Always Changing" and attention-grabbing singles such as "Our Velocity" (feedback notwithstanding). A handful of new songs intended for next year's third album were tried out here, of which only "The Kids Are Sick Again" seemed to deserve addition to the Maximos' variable canon of success.

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