The Maccabees - Colour It In (reissue)

Paul Cook 05/02/2008

Rating: 4.5/5

In all honesty, I've ignored The Maccabees up until this point, despite some shining critical acclaim and a growing indie-cult following in the UK and now regret ever doing so. The debut album 'Colour It In' hit shelves back in May last year and this re-release is pure indie guitar-pop catchiness. It is now back on sale with the addition of 6 more tracks and likely to achieve bigger and better things after a full summer of touring both here with their headline tour and in the U.S. supporting similarly energetic indie-sensation Bloc Party.

The re-issued 'Colour It In' is 19 tracks of fantastically fun, energised guitar-pop. It is also full of child-like charm and cheekiness that's endearing and captivating. Many of the tracks are admittedly very similar and this indistinctness is a draw-back to an otherwise inspiring album. The floating, gentle guitars are not to everyone's tastes but these are more than made up for by the soaring, edgy riffs and countless u-turns in tempo making it a surprising, lively album to the last.

'X-ray' the debut release from the album is a sharply executed, fast-paced thriller of a track. Bags of energy and emotion have been poured into this track. The same goes for 'All your Rows', although slightly slower in pace, the underlying tempo and vigour nevertheless comes out in force in the chorus. Personal favourite of mine, not just for its playfully creative, low-budget video, 'About Your Dress' is full of the infectious 'woah's' 'oohs', 'ahs' that have come to be associated with the Brighton-based Maccabees. 'First Love' is another brilliantly fresh track with subtle instrumentals that build to a typically powerful chorus, however it's similarity to 'About Your Dress' leaves it feeling like a 'heard-it-all before'- type track. 'Toothpaste Kisses', popular for its use in a recent Samsung ad, is the last of the originally-released album's tracks. Slow, acoustic-stylings and simplistic vocals offer a different view of the band with an almost Shadows-like indie-pop ballad.

On to the extra tracks then, beginning with 'The Real Thing' a distant, echoed clapping accompanies a simply-strummed guitar and placid vocals. Sounding much like a Tiny Dancer's track, captivating for its simplicity and gentleness, 'The Real Thing' is likely to be a fan favourite for these reasons. 'Just Like The Rain' follows and employing similarly delicate techniques features a faster pace and vibrancy to the chorus is an example of a song which twists and turns in style and pace.

The title track, 'Colour it in' also graces the re-release album, and poses the question 'Why on earth was it left out to begin with?' With more angst and power in the vocals and an undeniably catchy riff, despite only lasting 1.42 'Colour It In' is one of the best of the nineteen songs by a mile. 'Sore Throats' then follows with its fast, cutting and comparatively heavy riff and is also very impressive. The lyrics are insightful and frenzied with a dark, powering drum-beat throughout. The style of 'Sore Throats' similar to something usually heard by Gallows or Horrors contrasts that of most of the album and demonstrates and variety that was definitely lacking in the original release. 'Diamond Solitaire' is a little strange and needless at just 45 seconds of heavy, angry-sounding rock. Then, as you might expect, The Maccabees finish the album on a high with 'Bicycles.' It's back to good ol' heartfelt lyrics and unpredictable riffs, edgy guitar lines and slightly silly subject matter. With literally only 1% filler and an impeccably high standard of fun indie-pop otherwise, the new 'Colour it in' is fantastic, eccentric and certainly my first favourite album of 2008.