The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Maxïmo Park – ‘Risk To Exist’ (Cooking Vinyl)

  • 4/10
    - 4/10


Maxïmo Park’s sixth studio album ‘Risk To Exist’ ditches Paul Smith’s usual cryptic, intelligent lyrical style for vacuous sloganeering and empty thrills.

How did noughties indie rock become so lame? Granted, drunkenly screaming every single word to ‘Chelsea Dagger’ was never exactly cool but you can’t say it didn’t invigorate proceedings on a night out. As we jumped and danced to an endless stream of Jack-The-Lad stereotypes, who would’ve thought such disenchantment lay ominously in wait. Newcastle’s Maxïmo Park haven’t exactly re-grasped the scruff of their relevance. Like many of their surrounding guitar-slinging counterparts from back then, the rigid quality of their once universally beloved style no longer cuts it. Forever trying to clamber out of the creative sinkhole, their sixth studio album Risk To Exist persists in revealing little to get excited about.

In an attempt to re-engage their once flourishing audience, Maxïmo Park have jumped firmly on the protest band wagon. Admittedly, they’re a little late to the party but make no effort to conceal their intentions. In fact, it’s so blatant on Risk To Exist that you literally struggle to take away anything else, something quite disappointing in a literate band previously known for its frontman’s cryptic, intelligent lyrics and weird poetry. The entire album feels like a pick ‘n’ mix of randomly assorted social and political injustices with very little discernable or profound qualities to fall back on.

Boiling it down to just the ignorant sentiments or completely empty calls for social empowerment, Maxïmo Park consistently feel like they don’t actually have that much interesting to offer. What’s hilarious is Paul Smith seems to sum this up perfectly on ‘I’ll Be Around’ when he sings, “I will try to articulate what’s wrong / Even if there’s not much to say.”

Like practically every other guitar band lost at sea, Maxïmo Park have reinvented their regimented foundations by building into the vibrancy of synth pop. That seems to be the way it’s going. If jumping around to a repetitive guitar hook no longer mean anything to you, why not dance to our mediocre 21st century funk variation. But it’s the very fact that it’s this type of album that further hinders its integrity. If you’re hoping to write a stimulating protest album, why pick happy-go-lucky synth pop as means to be taken seriously?

That aside, Maxïmo Park’s sixth album isn’t exactly surprising, aside from the fact that you would hardly have put money on them back in 2005 to be still going 12 years later. It’s the product of a genre increasingly lost for ideas and executed by a band whose ideas where never exactly front runners in the first place. It’s never been cool to side with the Tories, but the transparency of playing a hip young liberal with very little to say doesn’t gain you any fans. (4/10) (Ollie Rankine)

Listen to Risk To Exist here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.