Even when it hasn't been fashionable to be political, Maximo Park have never shied away from sharing their views on albums like 2012's National Health. Half-a-decade later, the state of the world made stating their opinions on issues like the refugee crisis and wage inequality not just natural, but imperative. Though a lot of politically minded music suffers from being too literal or preachy, for the most part Maximo Park avoid both pitfalls on Risk to Exist, an album whose best moments are anthemic without being strident. These include the surprisingly joyous title track, which sounds like it could've appeared on A Certain Trigger and was released as a single benefitting the refugee charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS). "Alchemy," meanwhile, is a tender reminder that love is still important -- maybe even more so -- when the world resembles a dystopian novel come to life. Musically, Risk to Exist borrows from '80s new wave, subverting the sounds of the Me Decade with altruistic sentiments on songs like "What Equals Love?" while "The Hero" sets lyrics inspired by the 1960 film Rocco and His Brothers to a disco-inspired backdrop. Occasionally, Risk to Exist gets a little overbearing, but more often than not, the band makes respecting others ("Work and Then Wait," "Make What You Can") and doing the right thing ("Respond to the Feeling") sound catchy. Thanks to the sincerity and strong melodies that have been Maximo Park's mainstays since the beginning, Risk to Exist combines good intentions with good music.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares