Having a birthday is always a good way of acquiring new music, and my latest one proved no different. My lovely girlfriend splashed out and, amongst other things, got me not one, but two albums I’d been awaiting with baited breath. Here’s the first:

The Maccabees sophomore effort, Wall of Arms has been something I’ve been waiting for since the debut came out, and I’ve been excited for since I first heard the brilliant “No Kind Words“. After a few listens, I can tell you it was well worth the wait. This is the best kind of evolution a band can have for that “difficult second album” – enough of the original sound remains while enough invention and improvement¬†has gone on behind the scenes to give us something new to listen to.

The initial shock of the dark, brooding and afore-mentioned “No Kind Words” is tempered by the amount of upbeat tracks and lead single “Love You Better” sets the tone perfectly. Orlando Weeks’ voice shines through as always, but there’s a more interesting instrumentation going on here, full of stabs of guitar and echoey background vocals. Title track “Wall of Arms” starts louder than any other track but lulls into a beautiful little ditty and “Can You Give It” is full of guitar hooks and completely uplifting vocals. The second half of the album does drag a little more than the first half and “Bag Of Bones” really isn’t the most interesting way to finish the album, but on the whole there’s very little to complain about. More than anything else, this album is more of a relief than anything, it proves The Maccabees aren’t a one-trick indie pony, but a fully fledged band, ready to progress and keep enthralling us.

The Maccabees – Can You Give It (YSI)