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An Alternative Music Magazine

Wall of Arms (Album Sampler)

The Maccabees

Now this is a challenge, how do you review an album sampler?

I could dissect it and analyse all the individual tracks but I can’t help but think that ruins the spirit of the album as a collective. The simplest conclusion I can come to is to review my forecast based on a taster, early predictions are it’ll be rather delightful.

My previous experience with The Maccabees was a very brief one, I thought ’Toothpaste Kisses’ was pleasant enough but nothing earth shattering, if I’m honest they nearly all but passed me by unnoticed. Fortunately by reviewing this sampler me and the Maccabees had a second chance and the impressions were much stronger.

To touch back on my earlier problem I found it particularly hard to capture the album ’Wall of Arms’. Trying to gauge pacing and concept on only four tracks proved to be tougher than I thought, I can only assume they went for the more mainstream friendly tracks and that they’ll be broken up with something a bit more melancholy, but as I said, that’s only an assumption.

My first concern about this sampler was that it might lack variety as it’s more than common with bands of this assortment; fortunately what they do show is diversity in techniques. The perfect example is the drumming, never once overt or over the top and always does exactly what is require, but the style and capability hasn’t gone unnoticed, coupled with the intense BPM of ’Kiss and Resolve’ and this sampler proves that The Maccabees have more than enough range.

’Love You Better’ is the first single from ’Wall of Arms’ and features on the sampler. A wash of delayed hypnotic guitar that is extremely striking coupled along with minimal but effective brass, a very nice touch that adds that little more impact to the crescendo.

This sampler isn’t completely devoid of issues though, my main gripe is as lovely as the vocal are I can’t help but feel the melodies are all a bit familiar to each other, although this didn’t occur to me until I truly noticed how similar singer Orlando Weeks tone was to Win Butler from Arcade Fire (no bad comparison, quite the opposite in fact).

With the right pacing and production this album has the potential to easily out do there earlier efforts and truly thrust The Macaabees into the mainstream, I look forward to hearing the final effort.

Listen: www.myspace.com/themaccabees