Rhythm & Views

Maxímo Park

Remember The Proclaimers and that song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"? "I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more"? It could just be the slightly similar accent and inflection, but when Maxïmo Park's lead singer Paul Smith sings, "365 days watching me decay," on "Girls Who Play Guitars," the first song on the Newcastle, England, band's second album, a wee tear in the pop time-space continuum opens up.

While the Proclaimers fell into one-hit-wonderdom, Maxïmo Park has the potential to be the next band whose music is blasting through the speakers everywhere you go. Which is, when the music's good enough, not a bad thing at all. Our Earthly Pleasures is pop hook after pop hook delivered with unflinching confidence--the keyboard riff and guitars on "Our Velocity" sound like Gary Numan in a garage band, and the chorus of "Books From Boxes" has vocal flourishes that give chills.

The piano on "Russian Literature" and "Your Urge" helps elevate the songs into filmic epics, and even when the band slows things down and gets romantic, as on "Sandblasted and Set Free," the song's still danceable and better than any radio-friendly one-note whiner. Toward the end of the album, with "Parisian Skies," Our Earthly Pleasures touches down with crystalline keyboards and woo-ooos.

Our Earthly Pleasures vibrates with vitality--it's clear that Maxïmo Park is one of those bands whose live shows spin at 100 percent perceived exertion. They wouldn't just walk 500 miles--they'd be singing and dancing and running, even for the 500 more.