SIngle Review: Maxïmo Park - Our Velocity

Recently BlackPlastic was struck by a vision - in order to make a truly great, long-lasting pop record you need just follow one rule:

Make it sound like three records at once.

Example one: Outkast - 'Ghetto Musick'
It's obvious really, there's the stank-ing, jacking bit at the beginning. The bit about climbing out this whole. Then there's the fantastic vocal hook - "I just want you to know how I feeeeeeel..."

It's like a cut 'n' shut hip-pop record and you know you love it all the more for it. It's three choruses at once, all fighting for the honour of becoming the 'real' chorus. It's like most artist's entire best-of compilations in four minutes.

Example two: Radiohead - 'Paranoid Android'
Taking its cues from perhaps the earliest example of the phenomenon about which you read, Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Paranoid Android' starts all weird and disjointed before descending into a pit of weird disjointed-ness. There's the slightly scary, laid back bit at the beginning, the more scary shout-y bit in the middle with Johnny Greenwood's guitars sounding both pissed off and regal. Then there's the blissed out yet still tripped out and scary bit at the end, the sound of a gospel choir if it where made up not of a collection of singers but a collection of Thom Yorkes. Rain down on me indeed, this is the sound of nuclear fallout condensed into pop genius.

And so to our review, Maxïmo Park's 'Our Velocity'. Until recently BlackPlastic only ever seemed to hear 'Our Velocity' in a half sleep on a Saturday morning on the radio. BlackPlastic's thoughts where initially thus - "What the hell are they thinking, what's with the electronics and the fact it sounds like two songs?!"

Obviously BlackPlastic now realises if it had been fully compos mentis it would have realised the the electronic bits are freaking awesome and it actually sounds like 3.5 songs at once, not two...

Electronic waves float by whilst vocalist Paul Smith attempts to remember which bit of which song he's supposed to be on and whether he should be singing or, like, SHOUTING!!! And he's shouting and singing about, well God knows what, but it doesn't matter because a minute in and we are already somewhere else... Singing about velocity. Maybe we're singing about the song we're singing now? That would be clever, no? Oh, the electronic bits are back, but the guitars sound PISSED because they managed to carry the first album into moderate success, right?

Oh, oh, oh... Here's the other REALLY good bit... Paul's not sure who to call in the middle of the night anymore... That's a shame, but it sounds great! Woohoo! Now there seems to be another bit... Darker... "If everyone became this sensitive I wouldn't have to be so sensitive". Wise words.

Maxïmo Park's debut smacked of a band that could almost be great but needed to stop listening to Paul Weller. This record achieves that.

BlackPlastic needs a sit down.