thirteen songs that swoon at every turn of a ridiculously catchy chorus and soar on endless infectious hooks...
Daniel Melia
21:07 15th May 2007

Who said romance was dead? Certainly not The Maccabees. In their world it is alive and well be it in the exuberance of young love or the sentimentality of childhood memories. On their debut ‘Colour It In’ they have crafted thirteen songs that swoon at every turn of a ridiculously catchy chorus and soar on endless infectious hooks. It may not be full of endless experimental ingenuity like the other quite brilliant release this week (‘Mirrored’ by Battles) but what it does have is pop perfection in its baker’s dozen of individual gems.

Having already set the bar high with singles ‘X-Ray’, ‘Latchmere’ and ‘First Love’ Orlando Weeks and co had a lot to live up to with their debut long player and they don’t disappoint. While many of their peers are busy with their “look at us, aren’t we smart” social commentary on modern life The Maccabees are more at home with a more quirky take on Englishness and a certain naivety that draws you into to each song with front man Weeks struggling to find himself as he contemplates his life so far in his now trademark under-pronounced guttural drawl that sometimes disappears to a whisp.

Tenderness is chosen over bravado, never more so than on opener ‘Good Old Bill’ and closer ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ which both shimmer with understated grace and show that The Maccabees can slow down once in a while and still pull it off. In between ‘Precious Time’ is the soundtrack to being scared of finding the love of your life, the aforementioned ‘Latchmere’ is the best song about a public swimming baths ever written and ‘Lego’ with the lines “and the boys chew lego/so now we cant build castles or robots/cause the pieces wont fit together” is a sweeping piece of nostalgia which fizzes with an infantile innocence.

Though at times they could be accused of being a tad repetitive The Maccabees truly haven’t produced a bad song on ‘Colour It In’. You could quite easily take ten of the tracks and release them as strong singles from ’Tissue Shoulders’ to ‘All In Your Rows’. It is an album of concise affectionate pop that enthuses you with a sense of wanderlust and optimism with every listen from a band that dare to be thoughtful, not macho.

Weeks sings on ‘About Your Dress’ “I noticed you/You stood out like a sore thumb/The most beautiful sore thumb I’d ever seen” and encapsulates everything which this album is about.