Paul Smith and the Intimations – Contradictions
When vogue moves on, it’s not uncommon for guitar bands to spend years scratching around for their next sound. And should Maxïmo Park fit that description, then Contradictions – the latest side project from lead singer Paul Smith – serves as a valiant attempt to move that search forward, but without necessarily reaching any conclusions.
Four years in the making, Smith shifts between toe-tapping melody and neat, lyrical introspection, wearing a number of musical themes as the mood flits from Teesside to Coney Island and back. The problem being that the more deft touches here – Wendy Smith of Prefab Sprout on backing vocals; the hint of Cocteau Twins drift behind I Should Never Know – underscore a reticence to fully reveal the record’s identity; it’s like a novel picked up, put down, picked up again.
Those who grew up with Maxïmo Park will no doubt appreciate the adult clothes Smith wears on this, but for the rest of us, any contradiction – however loose – remains unfortunately untempered. [Duncan Harman]