May 4th will be known to many as the unofficial “Star Wars Day” with its play on the quote “May the force be with you”. To me however, it marks the anniversary of one of my favourite albums to ever be released, Wall Of Arms by my favourite band, The Maccabees.
Released May 4th 2009, this year marks the albums 7th anniversary and I thought it would be a good a time as any to review it.
Love You Better is one of my favourite tracks from the four album discography by The Maccabees and serves as a brilliant opening to their second album. The song is confident and catchy; something we’ve become accustomed to from the band in general over the years. Hearing this one live always gives me goosebumps as the majority of those in attendance sing along. It’s also one of the best love songs out there.
One Hand Holding is a cheerful little song. Following on perfectly from Love you Better, it’s atmospheric melodies and riffs blend perfectly.
Can You Give It first and foremost has one of the best music videos the band have conjured up. It’s literally just some footage of the infamous Gloucester cheese rolling event. One of their more upbeat songs, it always manages to lift my spirits if I’m ever in a mood.
Young Lions is one of the most underrated tracks by a long shit. With a perfect mix of upbeat riffs, gospel-esque vocals from Orlando Weeks and a singalong chorus to boot.
Wall Of Arms continues in the same vein and is a crowd pleaser if nothing else. At every Maccabees gig I attend, everyone’s arms are in the air; thus creating a wall of arms. Genius. It’s moody in parts making things seem more serious but it’s done in such a way that you may not notice the change in pace or proceedings.
No Kind Words is again, one of their most catchy riffs. With an undertone of a deep message lip-synced by Mat Horne (like myself, a big fan of the band) and Matthew Baynton, this is again one of my favourites. The beat is incredible and Orlando’s heavenly tones fit impeccably on top.
Some of the tracks on this album are less known and underrated like Dinosaurs which is a lot moodier and structured building up to an incredible finish but still has the infamous Maccabees twang on it. All the times I’ve seen the guys live and I’ve never heard them do this one. Maybe it would change the tempo of the gig TOO much and they don’t want to risk losing the crowd’s attention.
Kiss And Resolve, probably about arguing and that. “Let’s kiss, lets kiss, kiss and resolve. So, pride aside, I clear the air”. Beautiful lyrics. And no, before anyone starts; I don’t wish Orlando was singing this about me despite the man crush I have for him.
Another underrated track in the form of William Powers which has some of the best guitar riffs across their discography and one that’s stood the test of time at live shows with the likes of Love You Better, First Love and Toothpaste Kisses and prove themselves to be crowd favourites.
Seventeen Hands is another love song. Might not seem it on the first listen but with lyrics such as “Call out the soft sound, the four letter word that you found, call it out, call out the soft sound and make it round” it makes it clear to me that it’s about love, marriage and not being afraid to admit it once you’ve found it. It’s either love or the other four-letter word. Fuck.
Bag Of Bones is a lovely little song. When I first heard it, I had no idea what it was about. First through was just that the band loved Stephen King with the book, Bag of Bones, being their favourite. As I’ve grown older and my love for the band has never disappeared, I’ve realised that the track is about growing old or old people in general. “Wrinkles of a trophy one, could think of it as showing us the way. Beautiful old bag of bones. So much more besides”.
As aforementioned several times, I love this album. It’s stood the test of time and still one of my regular go to albums when I’m not quite sure what I want to listen to. Roll on July where I’m seeing the band live AGAIN. Lost count how many times I’ve seen them now but they just get better and better each time and I personally can’t wait for the fifth album.
Words by Robert Smith(@robertmsmith)