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Wall of Arms

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Album Review

Maccabees' first album, Colour It In, was more than a little indebted to the Futureheads, Bloc Party, and the other U.K. acts who popularized urgent tempos and angular riffs in the mid-2000s, but the band drastically renovates their sound on Wall of Arms. However, it's still easy to hear where they get their inspiration. They've traded their formerly scrappy approach for a style that borrows the Arcade Fire's anthemic sweep — it's no coincidence this album was produced by Arcade Fire collaborator Markus Dravs. On "Can You Give It," singer Orlando Weeks' previously marble-mouthed vocals have morphed into something closely resembling Win Butler's tremulous keen, and the rest of the song follows suit, with galloping drums and handclaps that lead the way to massive choruses with a dramatic ebb and flow. Even though the band shows its influences just as transparently as they did on Colour It In, they sound much more confident and comfortable — in fact, they seem downright eager to display their newfound skills and polish: the brass on "Young Lions" and throughout the album underscores the majestic levels that Maccabees try to reach. Wall of Arms is bookended by "Love You Better" and "Bag of Bones," both of which are far slower and more patient about showing off their goods than any of Maccabees' earlier work; likewise, the band would have been too hyperactive to attempt "Seventeen Hands"' thoughtful-yet-jubilant reflections on love and marriage on Colour It In. However, they haven't totally abandoned their pop instincts. "One Hand Holding" and "Dinosaurs" boast sing and shout-along choruses, and "Kiss and Resolve" plays like a more grown-up take on their bouncy insistency. Crucially, despite the more sedate tempos and outlook, these songs feel truly purposeful. And even if Maccabees still aren't stunningly original, they've made a significant step forward with Wall of Arms.

Customer Reviews

Great Album - Pointless Re-release

This is a fantastic album, they moved on from their first album but not so much as to loose their charm. The stand-out tracks to me are 'Love you better', 'One hand holding' and 'No knid words'. From the additional tracks i think 'Hearts that strangle' is beautiful and 'Empty Vessels' is a decent track but there really was no point in releasing the album again seeing as all the tracks except 'I drove all night' are available all ready! Doesn't stop it being one the best albums of 2009/10 and i hope they do well whenever they decide to release some new material! Peace x

Fantastic album for new fans. Useless for Old fans.

I love this album, its so much better than colour it in, but i think it would have been better if they'd released the new tracks as an EP, i only got this album at christmas, and to find out that its been re-released 5 weeks later is nothing short of frustrating. Im sure lots of other people will feel the same way, BUT, if you havent brought Wall Of Arms already, nows the time is do so, as the new tracks are very good, but i dont want to buy this again just for a couple of new songs, i wish they'd let people buy the documentary seperately though, i'd love to watch that.

Thank you for doing over the fans you already have

They did it to me with Colour It In (although of course I know I won't be the only one) and with the current album, you try to support a band you like and think deserves the support and then a bloody new version comes out not really that long afterwards! I already bought all the B-sides on top of pre-ordering the album and then this comes along alot cheaper, and I wouldn't mind the videos but I'm not buying it again it's taking liberties! Great album, but I'm well annoyed


Formed: 2004 in South London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Hailing from South London, kinetic indie rockers the Maccabees formed in 2004 around vocalist Orlando Weeks, guitarists Hugo and Felix White, bassist Rupert Jarvis, and drummer Robert Dylan Thomas. The group's first single, "X-Ray," was released on Promise Records in November of 2005, and thanks to a strong XFM-Radio showing, the Maccabees were able to garner opening spots on an Arctic Monkeys tour. Fierce Panda picked up the second single, "Latchmere," issuing it in the spring of 2006. The band's...
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Wall of Arms, The Maccabees
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Customer Ratings