So here we are – 10 weeks in! Honestly, I thought I’d do two of these, and that would be that, but it’s still going strong – and to celebrate number 10 – I’ve got my all time favourite band – Maxïmo Park. The song? Well, I’ll be honest, this could have been one of at least 15 – but I’ve picked one that I just resinated with from the moment I heard it – Books from Boxes. Apologies, this post is a bit longer than the normal New Tunes Tuesday ones, but it’s worth it!
Now, ask any fan of Maxïmo Park and they’ll have a favourite song or album – and a story to tell about why it means so much to them. For me, my love story (if you will) with Maxïmo started when I was at Uni. I remember stumbling across “A Certain Trigger” and thinking “What on earth is this!?” – but there was something about it that just clicked for me.
I didn’t even make it to the end of the album before I started it again – “Graffiti“ became a staple on any playlist I made. “Going Missing” became a song I would always turn to when I was feeling a bit under things – it gave me that sense of isolation, which sounds strange, but I needed that kind of song to grab me – and “Going Missing” did that for me. After playing the first 4 or 5 songs on repeat, I let the album play to the end, and eventually I hit “Acrobat“.
I’d never really heard much spoken word stuff before (maybe that’s what triggered my love for artists such as Kae Tempest), and “Acrobat“ just hit me. I remember sitting in a lecture with my headphone in the cup of my hand, leaning so no one knew I was listening to music, my brain was picking apart every single word in “Acrobat” – and it still does today;
Another minute more is all I need, I’ll never have enoughMaxïmo Park
We knew each other once
This cant be what you want
But you didn’t have to demolish me
I don’t remember losing sight of your needs
I am not an acrobat, I cannot perform these tricks for you
This album alone was enough for me – I knew I was a Maxïmo fan boy from that moment – but it didn’t end there. For me, their second album, Our Earthly Pleasures was iconic from start to finish – I couldn’t fault a single track, and each one from the very start was incredible. The opening guitar on “Girls who play Guitars” just hits me every time, “Our Velocity” is an instant sing-a-long for me. And then, “Books from Boxes” plays. And I just stop, and listen to it again, and again, and again.
And towns become circuit boards
We can beat the sun as long as we keep moving
From the air
Stadium lights stand out like flares
All I know is that you’re sat here right next to me
Such a clear picture instantly painted in my mind – the clarity, mixed with the uncertainty. “All I know is that you’re sat here right next to me” is one of those lines that I stumble on, to me, it’s one of the strongest lyrics. Paul Smith (lead singer) writes the most incredibly lyrics, and this is emphasised by the unique style that Maxïmo have. I know, with every song, the lyrics are totally open to interpretation by the listener (that’s why we love music, right?). For me, Books from Boxes paints such a clear picture of uncertain relationship, doubt and fear, coupled with moments of calm and care.
Hey, maybe that’s not what Paul was thinking, but I’m taking it anyway!
We rarely seeMaxïmo Park
Warning signs in the air we breathe
Right now, I feel each and every fragment
This is something new
But, it turns out it was borrowed, too
“Why does every letdown have to be so thin?”
Look, I’ve rambled on for too long, so here it is:
Books from Boxes by Maxïmo Park
My final comment on this weeks tune – as I said before, I’m a huge fan of Maxïmo Park, and Paul Smith in general. I’ve seen them live uncountable times – two of those times will live in my memory for evermore.
The first, was the incredible gig at the Royal Albert Hall – just, once in a lifetime for me to see my favourite band in such an iconic venue – spine tingling, and yes, tear jerking when they played Acrobat on the organ, and Paul stood there reciting the song to perfection. Stunning, honestly, there were tears.
The second time, however, for the opposite reason. In Cambridge – Paul mixed the verses up when performing Books from Boxes – my favourite song, god damn it! Pretty sure there was a moment of grimace on his face! It was still incredible, though, so I wasn’t that upset. Honest 😉
Please do check out their albums – give them a couple of listens – embrace the lyrics – you won’t be disappointed. I know I’m not alone with this, too. BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James is a bit of a fan too – and nothing makes my day better than when Maxïmo get selected on the 10 minute take over! If you’re looking for similar artists, why not check out Bloc Party, The Cribs and The Enemy, to name but a few.