Maximo Park / The Blood Arm - 53 Degrees Preston - 27.4.05

The Blood Arm are so thrilled to be together that a camp man comes on stage to introduce them. He weaves a cunning tale claiming that the cure for his depression and hangovers is the sound of the Blood Arm. This crazy American band has an animated singer who jumps into the crowd, hugs them, asks them questions, then rolls around on the floor. The songs are memorable, quirky, pop rock with a rather foxy young lady on keys providing sweet melodies. It's easy to see this band becoming huge in the near future, but im sure they'll lose a few drummers along the way if their singer keeps near decapitating them when he jumps with the full force of the kit right into them.

My heart goes out to poor Paul Smith, lead singer of Newcastle's Maximo Park. At a recent gig in Northumbria he lost his notebook which contained lyrics for the bands album "Certain Trigger". At the time of writing he's still not found it, but fingers crossed it'll be returned to him in due course.

They're an odd looking bunch are Maximo Park. They look like a group of volunteers from a charity organization brought together by their love of music, but as a band, they're one of the most intriguing and likeable new bands around at the moment. Smith has that thousand yard stare of Spark's eccentric figurehead Ron Mael, the nerd herd quality of Jarvis Cocker and if his voice may not be that strong, his lyrics are some of the wittiest and acute i've heard since Richard Ashcroft. The band sound like a lot of other bands but have a unique spoon on things that they end up sounding fresh and original. There's the spiky guitar sound of the Futureheads and Franz Ferdinand, the punk melodies of the Buzzcocks, the intelligent wordplay of the Smiths and the manic, unpredictable feel of the Rakes.

"I Want You To Stay" is about the love of your life not wanted to leave, while recent single "Graffiti" will be this century's most played bedsit song.. The young predominantly student audience have found their favourite new band in Maximo Park whose tunes strike a chord in everyone, notably the encore closing song" Kiss You Better", one of the best songs Pulp never wrote with the charm and understanding a band of this quality can easily manage.

Now if only that notepad would resurface the world would be their oyster

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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