The Maccabees: eight tracks we won’t forget
The Maccabees Press Shot

Yesterday morning, after 14 years, four albums, a Mercury Prize nomination and a plethora of sold-out shows, indie-rock quintet The Maccabees announced that they are calling it a day

In an online statement to fans, the South Londoners described a civil split, simply claiming to have hit a “creative peak” in making music.

The announcement was a shock to many. The band were set to take off as an arena-level act, after the release of their chart-topping album Marks To Prove It, and their first ever major festival headline slot last month.

The Maccabees certainly had plenty of top tracks in their creative tank. Alice Mortimer takes a look back at the songs they’ll be remembered for.

1. ‘Toothpaste Kisses’

Arguably the band’s signature single, ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ could appear on a mixtape as possibly the most romantic gesture possible.

The low-fi stylistics and scratchy guitar, in partnership with Orlando Weeks’ shaky vocals, give the track a charming vulnerability. With a homemade sound, cutesy whistling solo and a single-strum finish, ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ is a song about love in its most naive simplicity, and its 2008 release was refreshing in a time of over-blown pop and try-hard lyricism.

2. ‘Precious Time’

Another indie smash from the debut, but this time with some killer rock riffs, ‘Precious Time’ is nonetheless just as satisfyingly sweet.

Central refrain ‘Let’s take our precious time’ was always set for anthemic live show sing-a-longs with its repetitive, staccato sound – in true Maccabees style.

3. ‘Love You Better’

Opening with twiddly running guitar, this defining track from second album Wall Of Arms is another heartfelt one.

Weeks’ vocals are continually desperate and at times ghostly as he reiterates ”I will love you better’. The ending section marks the band’s first venture into more than just ‘indie’ music, and something a bit more grand.

4. ‘Wall Of Arms’

The title track of the group’s second album is another Maccabees live classic, set between sections of fluid bass and pleasing rock guitar.

This really saw them take off as serious contenders in the indie-rock world.

5. ‘Pelican’

A festival anthem with that iconic staccato opening, ‘Pelican’ reflects the Maccabees in the prime of their rising fame and musical innovation, and for many will be the track they’re most fondly remembered by.

The first release from their Mercury Prize nominated record Given To The Wild, the track boasts frantic guitar, perfect luscious harmonies and a youthful energy marking the band’s evolution from the puppy-eyed beginnings they were famed for.

6. ‘Feel To Follow’

True atmospheric indie here, full of melancholy. It’s packed with running repetitions aided by dramatic climaxes; two things the band do notably well throughout their work.

In this respect, ‘Feel To Follow’ is a core example of the band’s neatly-honed, passionate rock.

7. ‘Something Like Happiness’

From the band’s fourth and final album, Marks To Prove It, the loud-to-quiet structure of ‘Something Like Happiness’, with its brass instrumentation and wonderful keyboard trills, brings sophistication to the sound of the Maccabees, and almost tolls like a finale to the band’s departure.

‘If it’s over, let it be over,’ exclaims Weeks. The track seems to be a matured revision of ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ – an apt end to the band’s traditionally saccharine sound.

8. ‘Marks To Prove It’

The title track of the final album is nothing short of epic. With crashing drums, spiralling minor sequences and erratic changes of pace, ‘Marks To Prove It’ really sees the band prove themselves as industry innovators.

Excitingly furious yet still maintaining that enchanting Maccabees touch, there is no doubt we’ll remember this track as the band at their technical peak. They’ve truly gone out with a bang with this one.

Main image: Pooneh Ghana


The Maccabees interview: band talk Adele, Danny Boyle and their No.1 album

Latitude 2016 review

Can you match the Noughties album to the artwork?