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A Strictly Guide To The Maccabees

Background Info: 

The Maccabees first single, ‘X-Ray’ was released on Promise Records in November 2005, and thanks to XFM, The Maccabees were able to support The Arctic Monkeys. Fierce Panda went on to pick up the second single ‘Latchmere’, in the spring of 2006. The band’s full-length debut, Colour It In, came out on Fiction Records a year later.

The Maccabees came up with their name by flicking through the Bible and picking out a random word. Despite adopting a name with religious connotations, lead singer Orlando Weeks has more recently affirmed, in an interview on Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 1 show, that no member of the band is religious. Their lyrics often include an atheistic theme, in particular their second album’s title track, “Wall of Arms” and “All in Your Rows” from their debut album.

Drummer Thomas left the band in 2008 due to personal reasons (rehab) and Sam Doyle was recruited to step in behind the kit. Second album, Wall of Arms came out into 2009. The Maccabees worked with producer Markus Dravs of Arcade Fire fame. Main stage slots at the Reading and Leeds Festivals soon followed before The Maccabees took two years off to write and record new album. Early 2012 saw third album Given To The Wild achieve major success, landing the band their first top five album. The band created their album alone leading to a darker deeper sound, much to their record labels dismay. Given To The Wild’s run away success undoubtedly made the label regret the doubt. The Maccabees have started 2012 as the “saviours” of British guitar music.

The Sound:

The Maccabees burst onto the scene, with their charming lad looks and had teenage girls swooning over their heartfelt lyrics which were met with pop guitars and lazy vocals. Over the years, as The Maccabees have grown, the band have left the goody nonsense lyrics and poppy hooks behind and have embraced  cold emotionless lyrics and shivering guitars. During their time with Markus Gravs on second album Wall Of Arms the band also embrace the style and sound of Arcade Fire adding a bigger more atmospheric sweep to their music.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Headlining the annual NME Awards Tour in 2010, along side Bombay Bicycle Club, The Big Pink and The Drums.
  • Given To The Wild peaked at #1 in the midweek UK charts.
  • Due to headline the NME tent at Reading and Leeds 2012, are also set to play biggest headline show at Alexandra Palace.

The Records:

Colour It In

The debut album Colour It In broke The Maccabees into a slice of the indie rock scene, with poppy guitars and random youth filled lyrics. Lyrical, Colour It In was not the most sharpest, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of 2007′s finest debuts album by a guitar band. For many The Maccabees became the charming teenager band, swarming their way into young girls hearts, while boys simply wanted to be in the band. With chanting big gig energetic anthems ‘About Your Dress’ and ‘Mary’ alongside the big radio hitters ‘First Love,’ ‘Lego’ and ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ the band found success easy to come by (especially with advertisers).  Colour It In, was originally released as a itunes download months before the physical copy, this was to avoid any sort of leak. The physical copy went onto peak at number #24  in the charts, recieving positive reviews.

Wall Of Arms

Thanks to their debut album The Maccabees had gathered the dedicated fanbase and media contacts needed to help gain exposure and prepare the way for the darker singles ‘No Kind Words’ (which later went out as a free download) and ‘Young Lions’ debuted. The Maccabees followed this with a few more songs to ‘test’ the album out. Wall Of Arm was more accomplished and ambitions than the debut. The youthful fun lyrics were gone, replaced by cold hearted words, but still with the signature Maccabees charm. Wall Of Arms went onto receive positive reviews, although not as positive as their debut Colour It In.

Given To The Wild

The Maccabees decided to take a two year break between Wall Of Arms and Given To The Wild, the boys self-produced, with the help from Tim Goldsworthy of DFA fame, the album, much to the dismay of record executives. Having said that Given To The Wild, has proved to be more of a commercial success than many anticipated as fans embraced their darker, edgier sound. The boys were keen to express the importance of the record and how was this was the first time they were able to sound completely how they would have liked to. Orlando Weeks vocals seemed more laid back with discreet, while still retaining the big choruses, proving that The Maccabees are more than just a “big singles band”.

Given To The Wild peaked at #1 in the midweek charts, before the Brit Award Nominations helped to boot the album down to #4. Thankfully, The Maccabees have got bigger and better throughout the years, making them one of British most important guitar bands.

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Author: Simone

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