Into the Archives: Maxïmo Park – A Certain Trigger

As the Newcastle quintet embark on their tour to mark the 10th anniversary of their debut album, looks at why it should still be remembered and enjoyed today

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Throughout November and December, Maxïmo Park will tour across Britain, Germany and the Netherlands to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their outstanding debut album A Certain Trigger. When tickets for the UK dates went on sale in May, the dates at London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow sold out so quickly that another 5 dates had to be added. This is a clear demonstration of the band’s strong and widespread support, but also of how fondly people remember their debut album, and shows that A Certain Trigger is one of the most important and venerated albums of the past decade.

At the time of its release, the album was acclaimed by music critics, with NME calling it “energetic and beautifully crafted”, Drowned in Sound saying it was “a magnificent album where every verse fills you with excitement for the next chorus,” and AllMusic writing that “A Certain Trigger is a remarkably fresh-sounding debut album.” In addition, A Certain Trigger was shortlisted for 2005 Mercury Prize and went sell over 100,000 copies in the UK, and over half a million copies worldwide. The album went on to spawn a number of iconic Top 40 singles, including ‘Apply Some Pressure’, ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Going Missing’, which peaked at #17, #15 and #20 respectively. All of these singles are still firm fans favourites, and ‘Apply Some Pressure’ was later covered by Mark Ronson with the help of Paul Smith for his 2007 album Version.

It’s easy to see why fans loved and continue to love the album. While the mid-noughties saw many energetic and celebrated indie rock releases, A Certain Trigger stood out at the time because of lead singer Paul Smith’s accented vocals and personal and cultured lyrics, Duncan Lloyd’s sharp and angular guitar riffs, and Lukas Wooller’s effective use of keyboards and synthesisers. There are a number of songs on the album that show exactly why the band become such indie-rock heavyweights. Songs like ‘Apply Some Pressure’, ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Limassol’ are fast, catchy and anthemic, and also embody the spirit of the post-punk revival movement. However, there are more understated parts on the album, such as ‘The Coast is Always Changing’, ‘Kiss You Better’ and ‘Acrobat’, that still just as personal and relatable, but are slower and less intense. The fact that Maxïmo Park were able to establish their own brand of indie rock while also being able to experiment is what makes A Certain Trigger a well-rounded and cleverly crafted debut album.

The album also embodies the band’s unity and endurance over time. While many of Maxïmo Park’s indie rock colleagues including Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Editors and Hard-Fi have changed their line-ups since their debuts, all of Maxïmo Park’s members are all still together and have made four more albums as a five piece since their debut. Although bassist Archis Tiku no longer tours with the band, he, along with Smith, Lloyd. Wooller and drummer Tom English continue to create music together.

Overall, A Certain Trigger by is and remains an accomplished debut album. We ought to remember it for its critical and mainstream acclaim, as well as producing incredible genre defining hits that are still loved and listened to today. The band’s later albums are of a similar calibre and demonstrate that they are an experienced musical force, but we ought to remember their debut as an album that started their ascent to the mainstream music scene and as one of the main reasons why the mid-noughties was such an important period for independent rock music.

2 comments

  1. 13 Dec ’15 at 5:14 pm

    juliet robertson

    thanks for this review!

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