The Maccabees

Colour It In

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Futureheads fans beware. There's someone else threatening to take away the title of best harmony singing, guitar-wielding band in town: the Maccabees. The five-member Brighton (by way of South London) group use the same angularly warm riffs, pounding guitars, occasional background yelping, and quick, syncopated, catchy melodies that brought stardom to the Futureheads (and, to a lesser extent, Bloc Party and Interpol, both of whose influences can also be heard here), and while they don't necessarily add much more of their own to the formula on their debut full-length, Colour It In, (the few bars of harmonica on the fantastic "Latchmere" don't count), they follow it well enough that it doesn't really matter. Lead singer Orlando Weeks has a wonderfully animated voice -- moving from pained and annoyed in "Tissue Shoulder" to smitten in the rolling "About Your Dress" to dramatic and emotional in the poppy "O.A.V.I.P." -- rich and just a little rough, which keeps the fact that the chords, the arrangements, and the rhythms of the album are all rather similar a show of strength, of realizing where your assets lie instead of signaling a lack of versatility. Weeks brings life and individuality to each of the songs, though, to be fair, his bandmates' bright arpeggios, sharp like broken glass, sixteenth-note, tom-filled drum lines and heavy bass don't make his job very hard. Colour It In bursts with vitality and youthfulness, with thick London accents and falling in love and breaking rules and simply enjoying one's self. So while the album may sound like it's been done before, it's just expressing the fact that all the things they're singing about, that all bands are singing about, really, have been done before, too. The Maccabees are in touch with the times they're living in, with the music and the energy around them, picking up on the trends they hear (i.e. the Futureheads, Dogs Die in Hot Cars) but only in a way that compliments their influences, making Colour It In an enjoyable, even if ephemeral, record.

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