Maximo Park Our Earthly Pleasures

When Newcastle, UK’s Maximo Park first entered into the already oversaturated post-punk melee that introduced the likes of the Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party to the world, Maximo Park dug into a piece of the territory with their frenetic live shows and ballsy, stuttering debut, A Certain Trigger. But where the band’s debut was full of spit and swagger, the follow-up, Our Earthly Pleasures, doesn’t kick out the same eruptions but instead takes a more subdued, pop-inflected approach. Produced by Gil Norton (Morningwood, Ben Kweller, the Pixies), this album sees Maximo Park’s fragmentary, sonic spazzing sounding somewhat cauterized. There are, however, some moments that border on Maximo Park’s trademark mania, such as "The Unshockable” and "By the Monument.” Then there’s "A Fortnight’s Time,” a staccato-pecked track that builds up and overflows into pop ecstasy. But the bulk of Our Earthly Pleasures has shed much of the unbridled energy that made Maximo Park so appealing in the first place. Still, the album is consistently up-tempo and does deliver a lot of the same unstoppable sensibilities that Maximo Park built their reputation on. However, while Our Earthly Pleasures doesn’t entirely disappoint, it doesn’t stray too far off the beaten path, either.

(Warp, www.warprecords.com) (Warp)