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The Maccabees at La Maroquinerie

Will Hutchins writing for I V Y paris

L_1e1bf1999afc2785c175e102eecc32e2 It’s a cliché but it’s a cliché because it’s true, one of the hardest things in the business of bands is to make a good second album, especially if you did it well at the first time of asking. This ailment affects nearly all bands whose debut can be clearly defined as being part of a certain movement from a certain time period.

The Maccabees debut ‘Colour It In’ can be classed as part of the jangly guitar pop with a side order of yelping vocals that so dominated the indie scene in Britain in the last few years. But since the alternative music buying public have grown tired of the two guitars, bass and drums formula and turned towards bands with synths, artists like Jack Penate have succeeded in making good second albums by deciding to make music with more of a dance feel than their premier offerings did.

However, although it works for some, changing your sound in order to keep up with current musical trends can also just appear to be cynical bandwagon jumping. Thankfully then the Maccabees threw away the synths that they tried out at the start of writing their second album and which would have seemed awkward and unnatural for these south London songsmiths. They have still managed though to make a second album that is different and, more importantly, that is better than their first.

On ‘Wall Of Arms’ the Maccabees’ sound has matured into something deeper, darker, and overall more interesting. Gone is the instantaneous pop pleasure of the first album’s verse-chorus-verse structured indie hits, instead these new songs increasingly carve themselves into one’s musical taste buds over repeated listens through their repetitive riffs and refrains. This is best exemplified on ‘No Kind Words’, positioned at the halfway point of the record it is the black sun around which all the other tracks revolve. This more considered feel to the Maccabees music and the way in which the songs slowly and surely hook you in until you’re hypnotised is much more of a rewarding pay-off for the listener than the immediate gratification of ‘Colour It In’. It is also a more effective backing for singer Orlando Weeks’ tender voice and heightens the emotion that was sporadically present on ‘Colour It In’ tracks such as ‘First Love’ and ‘Mary’.

Whereas the first album is more just a collection of songs, this is a focused and united work. The atmosphere that swirls from the first to last track is what ties all these songs together. An atmosphere created by producer Markus Dravs, who worked on Neon Bible, and was therefore able to obtain the services of the Arcade Fire’s brass section to play on opener ‘Love You Better’. 

Most of the album was recorded here in Paris, and for the first time since its release the band shall traverse la Manche to perform it at La Maroquinerie on June 10th. How much Paris has helped influence the bands more mature direction is debatable but it is slightly ironic that this new ‘darker’ sound was produced in ‘the city of lights’.

Bonapart Paris apartments



you guys should listen to Temper Trap. just saw them live and I loved them just as much as Maccabees http://www.myspace.com/thetempertrap

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