A treat is in store for fans of north east alternative rock act Maximo Park this week as not only have they got a new album out and a tour lined up to follow but they’re also playing a string of free record store shows to plug it.
The band’s sixth album, Risk to Exist, is released this Friday, April 21, and they’re playing one of nine in-store acoustic gigs that day in their native Newcastle, at its HMV, in Eldon Square, at 5.30pm.
Another home-town in-store show will follow at Reflex, in Nun Street, next Thursday, April 27, and they’ll be returning to the city’s O2 Academy on Saturday, May 6, as part of their first proper national tour since 2014, although they did play a handful of dates in 2015 to mark the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album, A Certain Trigger.
The band, formed in 2000 and currently comprising vocalist Paul Smith, guitarist Duncan Lloyd, Lukas Wooller on keyboards and Tom English on drums, are playing other in-store sets in Stockton, Bristol, Manchester, London, Oxford and Nottingham, and next month’s 11-date tour will also take them to destinations including Aberdeen, Glasgow, Sheffield and Birmingham.
Risk to Exist, produced by Tom Schick and available in standard 11-track and deluxe 18-track versions, is a follow-up to 2014’s Too Much Information, a No 7, making it one of three top 10 LPs they’ve notched up so far, the others being 2007’s Our Earthly Pleasures, a No 2, and 2009’s Quicken the Heart, a No 6.
“The album is, ultimately, about empathy,” said Billingham-born Smith, 38.
“Some songs are simple messages of solidarity, and others are fuelled by anger at the elitist, established order of British society.
“There’s a questioning of power throughout and a feeling that there must be a different way of structuring our society in order to alleviate inequality.
“Musically, the songs reflect more soulful and groove-based influences, allowing more space in the arrangements than ever before.
“The central idea is to align great pop melodies with songs that reflect the state of the nation.”
The band’s upcoming Newcastle shows are their first in the city since an open-air one in Times Square last July and their first-ever show at Newcastle City Hall in November 2015.
Tickets for their show at Westgate Road’s O2 Academy, priced £20, have sold out but might be available from secondary sources. For details, go to www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academynewcastle or maximopark.com
Entry to Friday’s HMV show is free to album buyers on a first-come-first-served basis, and the band will be signing copies of the LP after their set. For details, go to www.hmv.com/hmvlive/maximo-park