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Moodboard: Maxïmo Park

Tyneside indie rock stalwarts Maxïmo Park return early next year with their much-anticipated fifth album, Too Much Information. A self-produced affair – with added input from the ever-impressive Dave Okumu, and Field Music‘s core brotherly duo of David and Peter Brewis – it’s a darkly insurgent effort; a quality illuminated by the record’s two lead singles, hypnotic electro slow-burner ‘Brain Cells‘ and the more cathartic, after-hours balladry of ‘Leave This Island‘.

Always the types to like getting a little too much information, we couldn’t resist but ask the Georgie quintet’s frontman Paul Smith to take us on an audio-visual tour of the record. Below, Smith discusses the impact of South American history, Leonard Cohen and the literary works of Lavinia Greenlaw.

1. Matt Stokes
“We wanted a clear thread running through all of the visuals on the new album so we approached Matt Stokes, who’s known for making films about musical subcultures and their attached ephemera. Some of the songs, like ‘Brain Cells’, deal with memories of nights out and Matt’s knowledge of rave culture really matched up with that feeling.

2. Mark Cousins – What Is This Film Called Love?

“I saw the director Mark Cousins introducing this film at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. He’s such an enthusiastic character and his film features the brilliant poetry of Frank O’Hara plus the singular South American light of Mexico City, which ended up inspiring our song, ‘I Recognise the Light’.”

3. Roberto Bolaño – By Night in Chile
“My interest in South American history was also prompted by the work of Bolaño, whose writing is mysterious but somehow soulful. In his books, he subtly explains how the political turmoil in Chile infringed on the everyday life of its people in a haunting and terrible way. This novel is about a dying priest going over key moments in his life within the literary world.”

4. Jim O’Rourke

“We produced the latest album ourselves and our guitarist, Dunc, looked at lots of different studio techniques that we could use in our Newcastle studio, including the way Jim O’Rourke uses microphones when he’s recording bands. Also, Jim O’Rourke is a dude.”

5. Audre Lorde

“Audre Lorde was a librarian, a feminist, a mother, a lesbian, an African American, an activist, and a powerful orator. I saw the documentary, A Litany for Survival, at the Star & Shadow, Newcastle’s volunteer-run independent cinema, and I knew I had to write a song (‘Her Name Was Audre’) about her.

6. Leonard Cohen

“Leonard Cohen is a constant inspiration and we’ve reinterpreted his song, ‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ for a covers EP attached to our new album. It has a different feel to what people might expect from a fingerpicking poet, but contains the requisite amount of angst, insight and humour.”

7. Don DeLillo – Underworld
“I read a few books that directly influenced the lyrics, including Underworld. It’s an extremely dense book and by the time you’ve finished it you feel you know the characters and the world they lived in. It binds personal and national history together, but the more intimate memories made the biggest impression on me as a lyricist.

8. Deerhunter – Monomania
“We loved this record because each song feels raw and alive but also contains its own sonic quality and attention to detail. As a result, we approached its producer and engineer, Nicholas Vernhes, to mix our new record, Too Much Information.”

9. Dave Okumu

“We worked with Dave Okumu on the song ‘Brain Cells’ because as well as being in The Invisible, his work on Jessie Ware’s album and Lulu James’ ‘Closer’ single made us think he’d be into our song. Happily, he said yes to some additional production and his electro skills enhanced the odd mix of paranoia and euphoria that the song describes.”

10. Lavinia Greenlaw

“Dunc and I wrote a song recently in Spain called ‘On the Sly’, which borrows its title from a book called The Importance of Music to Girls by poet and author Lavinia Greenlaw. She and I collaborated on a version of her poem ‘Essex Kiss’ and her poetic poise and careful use of language has no doubt had a subliminal effect on my lyrics. We all make music outside the band that ends up influencing the records we make together.”

- Alex Cull

‘Leave This Island’ is available from January 27 2014, with Too Much Information following on February 4; both through Daylighting.

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