Sound — 9
This album is The Maccabees' first true opening into the world of indie music and with it they brought a very distinctive sound. The guitars are intricate in places but are often fairly basic yet this suites the style perfectly. The album is their representation of a teenage life, growing up with people coming and going and the slightly disjointed rhythms of the guitars reflect this (see 'Mary' or 'All In Your Rows'). Yet the feeling of the album as a whole is quite happy and uplifting with active basslines ('Tissue Shoulders') and drumbeats that move the song and give energy behind Orlando's slightly melancholy singing ('X-ray').
Lyrics — 8
Orlando, the lead vocalist has a distinctive wavery tone which he has through every song but this fits the album style perfectly like the line 'We'll hold on...' in 'Lego'. All the backing vocals slightly imitate Orlando and although sometimes unnoticable all add to the texture of the songs. The lyrics vary quite greatly from the very emotional side (like 'These are tears of joy not woe, cos woe betide I open wide and let inside the fire' in 'Happy Faces') to the easy to relate to, cute, but still not cheesy lyrics of the hopeless romantic songs like 'About Your Dress' ('You stood out like a sore thumb, the most beautiful sore thumb I'd ever seen'). The one exception I would make to the thoughtful lyrics would be 'Latchmere' about a swimming pool and even this, with undeniably catchy lines like 'swimming swimming swimming swimming, stay in your lanes' also shows a deeper side with a few hidden references like 'came out of the changing room and absolutely nothing had changed, so I stayed in your lane'.
Overall Impression — 10
Personally, this album just works for me. One of the few albums I have that I can listen to from start to end without skipping tracks, with high energy songs like 'X-ray' equally balanced with the cute love songs like 'toothpaste kisses' with the guitar melodies as pointed as Orlando's singing. And by pointed I mean edgy, uncertain, with a sense of the confusions of so many hormones in the air and trying to find a direction. Yet with this The Maccabees have direction. And judging by their new more mature album, that is and upwards direction.