Maximo Park February 15 2006

Missing Songs - Warp

Maybe Maximo Park really does want to start all over again. Missing Songs, a collection of B-sides, rarities and early demos, might seem a bit presumptuous for a band that just put out its debut album last year, but Maximo Park doesn’t use the release as a dumping ground. Rather, Missing Songs presents a band revised — a far more relaxed and musically confident Maximo Park than the one captured on its debut proper, the nervously effervescent A Certain Trigger.

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Those still smitten with the wiry post-punk of the band’s breakthrough single, “Apply Some Pressure,” will find the requisite spiritual heirs in “A19” and “Fear of Falling.” But the band sounds most alive when straying far from the predictable confines of post-punk. On the sweetly optimistic “A Year of Doubt” and the acoustic-tinged “Stray Talk,” Maximo Park resists staccato crunch, making its pop impulses explicit. Equally as impressive is the eerily minimalist cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation.”

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The lone misstep on Missing Songs is the inclusion of three early demos — the aforementioned “Apply Some Pressure” among them — which serve no apparent purpose except to prove that good production can go a long way.