There’s an old British saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, referring to a person’s will or inclination to learning declining as they grow older. Whilst most of the planet has had to change their behaviours one way or another over the last year, the human craving for structure, order and routine is still what makes us the creatures we are.
Nature Always Wins is Maxïmo Park’s seventh album since the Newcastle-based group released their debut album A Certain Trigger in 2006; during these fifteen years singer Paul Smith has also found the space for a solo career and personnel have come and gone, the most recent departure being keyboard player Lukas Wooller. Their passion though if last outing Risk To Exist was any benchmark, had yet to show any signs of cooling.
Smith has revealed that Wooller’s departure helped open up new creative avenues and possibilities with sound, along with the canny recruitment of veteran American producer Ben Allen, who shaped their endeavours by demanding first that they wrote a batch of fourty candidate songs. Recording largely at home became one of those new experiences that could’ve derailed the process, but instead the vigour and realness that have been the band’s most bankable qualities are more acutely audible than ever.
Name your cliche, be it about dogs and tricks, habits dying hard or hostages and fortunes, Nature Always Wins is the sound of musicians who can still be galvanised, from The Killers-style arena rock of All of Me to the honesty-bound musings on fatherhood I Don’t Know What I’m Doing and Baby, Sleep. Far from thinking about taking it easier and a place in the country, on this evidence Maxïmo Park are eagerly ready for the next lesson life has for them.
You can read a full review here.