The Maccabees–No Kind Words

Before churning out three albums worth of critically respected indie pop, The Maccabees were known for saccharine-sweet songs like Toothpaste Kisses which, in retrospect, are almost unlistenable.  It’s not to say that there’s no place in the world for such songs, but once you know what the band is capable of, it’s tough to endorse their earliest material.  Everything changed when they released No Kind Words, the first single off sophomore LP Wall of Arms.  It’s spare and mysterious, showing off a considerably moodier side of frontman Orlando Weeks.  Opening with crisp, lonely drums before adding a needling bass and detached vocals, it’s clear The Maccabees have something different in store.   What results is an accusatory second person narrative that has more in common with late-era Foals or Arcade Fire than contemporaries Mumford & Sons.  It quickly transforms into an angular, post-punk delight that upended expectations for the group. While the band didn’t completely abandon its sweet side on subsequent albums, the work that came after the tonal breakthrough of No Kinds Words was uniformly more complex and considered than the ad campaign ready pop pieces of its first release.

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