I said it recently and I'll say it again: it's interesting how bands/records you initially pass on come back into your life. The latest one for me is Maximo Park. Frank at Chromewaves recently chimed in with similar thoughts on these guys too, so here's my story.
Sometime last year, Jason played me a clip of "Apply Some Pressure." Rolling my eyes at the sound of yet another British band on a non-melodic, post-punk bender, I didn't want to hear anymore of it. Fast forward to last week: I'm in CD Addict and Mark plays a song on their CD changer that really catches my ear. Sounding more like a cross between the brilliant, poppy post-punk of The Futureheads, the sunny pop of The Thrills and a touch of pop-punk ala Screeching Weasel, I was curious. Who was this band? The one and only, Maximo Park. And even more impressive, the song was a b-side called, "Fear of Falling."
Mark suggested I check out their debut album, A Certain Trigger, and a forthcoming b-sides collection entitled, Missing Songs. Hearing some more of their songs, I will freely admit that I shouldn't have passed these guys up so quickly. A Certain Trigger and Missing Songs showcase incredibly catchy pop with some dips into post-punk territory. Hearing this now is a lot easier than this time last year. Last year was a year where it was very easy for a band like this to be lost in the shuffle.
In 2005, modern bands with various odes to '79-'83 post-punk (whether intended or not) got a lot of write-ups in the press, especially the British press. I don't know about you, but I had about enough of it around SxSW last year with all the hoopla about Bloc Party. That was in March and there were quite a few other bands written up in the following months. While I absolutely love Silent Alarm and like a few of these dancey, post-punk-styled bands (especially Franz Ferdinand), a lot of other bands with a remotely-sounding post-punk feel got the shove-it-down-yer-throat treatment. To quote George Costanza: Oxygen - I need oxygen!
With my mind always wandering from band to band and record to record, trying to separate the great from the crappy in a big and hazy genre that I wasn't completely sold on was tough. I've never hated the skronky guitars and the disco drumbeats completely, but when they back a track that lacks the kind of spark that makes a song really powerful, I grow very impatient. Seeing as how certain media outlets and labels like to pump as much gas out of a filling station until the very last drop, I didn't want to wait around for that time to come.
Now with the moronic, "Like the Stone Roses in '89 and Oasis in '94" kind of hype around Arctic Monkeys, even more dancey post-punk is probably making its way through the hype factories. That's a big "oh brother" for me, but I really don't know. There could probably be another really promising band to come out of this current mining operation. Of course it's really up in the air as to where bands like Bloc Party, The Futureheads and Maximo Park will go next, but all these new trails shouldn't be seen as one big trail.