Paul Smith – Margins (Billingham) 11/10/2010
October 9, 2010 by Jennifer Manders
After making it big as the vocalist for Maxïmo Park, Paul Smith is now releasing his first solo album ‘Margins’. And what an emotional affair it is!
The whole record has a very mellow, laid back and chilled-out vibe that is a delight to listen to, although there are occasions where perhaps it could do with being a bit livelier. ‘While You’re in the Bath’ is an example of this.
Lyrically, this song is superbly written. Although what is being sung about may sound slightly odd at times, such as the line “washing up with cold water while you’re in the bath”, you still cannot help but feel touched and moved after you have had a listen. Musically, however, this song does start to feel a bit dull after a while. Played solely on the guitar, it is slightly too slow to keep your attention long enough to listen to all four minutes of it.
Album closer ‘Pinball’ is similar to ‘While You’re in the Bath’ in style, with just a guitar being used and, possibly, it too could do with a little something extra to make it more interesting. On the other hand, ‘Pinball’ should be noted as being the song that shows off Smith’s vocals at there best as he sings with such passion and heart.
Otherwise, this album is definitely worth your time. ‘Strange Friction’ and ‘The Crush and The Shatter’ are both charming tracks that you will love from the first listen while ‘North Atlantic Drift’ is a fantastic way to open this CD. ‘Dare Not Drive’ is an album highlight and one that will be a huge hit on Smith’s European and UK tour!
Whether you are a Maxïmo Park fan or not, you can’t deny that Paul Smith has talent and ‘Margins’ is an accomplished first solo effort!