The Maccabees @ McCluskys, 26 February 2009

New Slang by Banquet Records

Francesca Baker

‘You stood out like a sore thumb; the most beautiful sore thumb I’d ever seen’ is genuinely one of the most beautiful and romantic lines to ever grace the song world. Slightly awkward and ungangly but sending shockwaves of wow to strike my heart every time I hear them, this is how The Maccabees are.

Unfortunately tonight did not offer many opportunities for the guys to stand out. I’m considering stopping the article here, taking the advice of the (fantastic) new single No Kind Words ‘if you’ve got no kind words to say, then you should say nothing at all.’

But I have plenty of kind words to say about The Maccabees, just tonight did not give them the opportunity to shine. Awful technical equipment that kept fuzzing or just giving up the ghost altogether, and a crowd of eighteen year olds who at times seemed more focused upon strawpedo-ing their VKs.

The Maccabees stop start rhythms capture the hesitancy of expressing overwhelming emotion, and mean that behind the lyrics of wave machines and lego, there is always a deeper side to explore. Their relevance lies in their ability to capture life’s most brilliant moments in vibrant aural Technicolor and soundtrack the private anguish that simultaneously feeds upon the soul. Whilst dancing in sun dappled fields or waving your arms on the dancefloor there is underlying vulnerability in the lyrics and Orlando’s pained yet focus delivery. Unfortunately that emotion and intimacy that makes The Maccabees live shows an experience more than just a gig was missing tonight.

The call and response interaction between Orlando and Felix continues to frame the new songs, but at a much slower tempo.

This is not necessarily a bad thing – at moments Colour It In was exhausting, the speed of the songs creating the feeling that we had experienced every emotion of the past twenty odd years along with the boys. It just means that the songs were not as well received as live favourites Latchmere and About Your Dress. The songs are also darker and more epic, such as the case of Young Lions, limiting their appeal to the teenagers on E numbers tonight.

Maccabees is a trajectory that gives primacy to reason over passion. Thankfully I can ignore this terrible advice as the band have repeatedly stressed that their name has no connection with the religious groups and texts they share a proper noun with. My reason is telling me that this wasn’t the best gig ever, but the passion The Maccabees fire within be ensures that I’ll be back next time.

Published by Francesca Baker

Passionate about music, the world, exploring, literature and smiling. Writing, marketing and events for all my favourite things.

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