Album Reviews 22/05/09
Maximo Park - Quicken The Heart (Warp) Three albums into their career and Newcastle post-punk revivalists Maximo Park have little interest in new departures.
Those who appreciated the charms of their previous offerings - and many did - will find plenty to love here.
The guitars are as angular as ever, Paul Smith's yelped vocals are intact, and there's a surfeit of literate lyrics, too.
Even those previously immune to their delights are likely to be snared by several tracks.
Burn it: Wraitlike; Let's Get Clinical
Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted To Sin (Island)
Tori Amos's 10th album is a surprisingly straightforward - if overlong - collection that partly lives up to its title.
An erotically charged set, it marks a departure from the often tedious concept albums that have dominated her recent output. It's a testament to the American's enduring appeal that she's still able to come up with melodic hooks that draw the listener in.
Curtain Call and Welcome To England can stand alongside her best work. At 18 songs, there's an inevitable quality slump. Still, the feeling that Amos is working on her terms - and her terms only - is as refreshing as ever.
Burn it: Curtain Call
St Vincent - Actor (4AD)
Texan multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark — aka St Vincent — has toured with the inimitable Sufjan Stevens, been a member of twee-pop collective Polyphonic Spree, opened for Arcade Fire and covered Jackson Browne.
It makes for a quirky CV,as well as helping to create a rich, varied tapestry on her 2007 debut, Marry Me, and refined further on this absorbing follow-up.
Clark's vocals conjure up the grit of Patti Smith, the aloofness of Annie Lennox and the raw vulnerability of PJ Harvey. Her voice is a dextrous instrument. The Strangers — with its suggestion of domestic unrest — is typical of the album's dark heart.
Burn it: The Bed; Actor Out Of Work