First there was Franz Ferdinand’s “Darts of Pleasure.” Then The Futureheads’ “Le Garage,” Bloc Party’s “Banquet” and Art Brut’s “Formed A Band.” There’s a new new wave going on in the UK, and it’s every bit as exciting as I imagine the first one was, but didn’t actually experience because I wasn’t born until Joy Division had already broken up. They’re all catchy, edgy and energetic, as a great new wave band is meant to be. But you can add a new name to the list — Maximo Park.
Maximo Park is brand new to the scene and have a spankin’ new single called Apply Some Pressure, released on, of all things, Warp Records. I can still remember when it was a big deal that Scala was the first band on Warp to use guitars. But now, it appears, the UK label has come a long way in its 15 years of existence, allowing room for some guitar-chugging blokes to make their mark. Pressure consists of four songs, each one packed, tighter than Alex Kapranos’ trou, full of hooks.
The title track has it all: jagged chords, jangly riffs, rumbling tom-heavy beats, a singalong chorus (and harmonized bridge!) and some genius keyboard drones. The production sounds as if it was done by Nick Lowe or Ric Ocasek, circa 1979, making the song seem even more authentically new wave. But it sounds remarkably “now.” A fledgling band such as Maximo Park isn’t meant to have this much talent, but alas, we’re burdened with having to know just how awesome they are.
Oh, yeah…the rest of the EP is good too. “The Coast is Always Changing” has even more vocal harmonies in between heavenly riffs and start-stop breakdowns. “Fear of Falling” is more straightforward at first, but just when you expect a standard punk song, the Beach Boy harmonies and surfy guitar textures start. And the closer, “I Want You To Leave” sounds like a lost Adam Ant b-side. That’s never a bad thing.
When Now That’s What I Call British New New Wave is released, “Apply Some Pressure” better be on it. This is one fucking amazing debut single. I can’t wait to hear what’s next!
Franz Ferdinand – Darts of Pleasure
Futureheads – 1-2-3 Nul!
Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.