Paul Smith

Billingham Records

Somehow when you see Paul Smith’s name, it feels like you know what to expect. The Maxïmo Park front man already has an enigmatic character, an art-rocker who reads poetry and that type of thing. Referred to as his “own album, not a solo album”, the sound isn’t a complete departure from Maxïmo Park.

The 13 tracks included in this album portray a quieter side of Smith. The music is stripped down, showing a complexity in his lyrics and style, which sometimes gets overshadowed by the band. With this in mind, it is important to approach this album with a different mind-set, although it’s Smith’s voice that’s instantly recognisable, you won’t hear any anthems like Apply Some Pressure.

That’s alright though, because songs like Improvement / Denouement and Alone, I Would’ve Dropped have their own merits. It would have been nice to see a complete departure from the Maxïmo Park sound, but that begs the question, how far could Smith really go? For all the hard-core fans, don’t worry Maxïmo Park hasn’t disbanded.

Shirley Stevenson