Maxïmo Park 

Our Earthly Pleasures

Back in early 2005 – an era seemingly awash in lame dance-rock albums – Maxïmo Park impressed with the quality of its debut. A Certain Trigger wasn't the most original work, but it was surprisingly solid, and filled with fun, hooky songs. For Our Earthly Pleasures, the Newcastle, U.K., band surprises again by choosing not to change its post-punk approach,

a tactic that led many of its peers (the Futureheads, the Stills, Killers et al) to record uneven follow-ups. Just like on A Certain Trigger, you get a great single ("Our Velocity"), a few near-hits ("Girls Who Play Guitars," "Russian Literature") and a handful of mediocrities. Despite singer Paul Smith's knack for smart lyrics – on "Books from Boxes," he sings, "Night falls, and the towns become circuit barns/We can beat the sun as long as we keep moving" – Our Earthly Pleasures won't dazzle listeners with an amazingly innovative sound. Sometimes, however, a band can be great by simply delivering what it promises. 3 stars

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