Today, The Maccabees announced to the world that they were splitting up with this message. After 14 years as a band, the South Londoners decided to call it quits. Not for any malicious reasons or fall out – just simply because they thought this was the right time. They’re at the top of their game, having just released their fourth album, Marks To Prove It, their highest charting and most critically acclaimed to date. Along with that they triumphantly headlined Latitude festival last month.
They’ve taken a step back at the peak of their powers. A solid decision for their legacy and they clearly feel it’s the right time. Personally I can’t help feeling sad and longing to see what they could have conjured up for a fifth record – I genuinely believe they could have kept this upward curve going.
Or maybe that’s just me not thinking clearly, as I have so much affection for this band. I’ve grown up with the Maccabees. Quite literally. They’ve matured into world beaters as my taste has matured to appreciate what they are creating.
Starting right back with the first single “Latchmere” and leading into 2005’s Colour It In, they were part of the wave of dancefloor indie that took the world by storm in the mid-noughties. Unlike the Pigeon Detectives, the Reverend and his Makers, Joe Lean and his Jing Jang Jong et al, they weren’t thrown into the indie bargain bin.
Although, some critics did want to consign them to that same same fate after 2009’s Wall Of Arms, it was clear to me they had something more. An extra gear to find, a level of finesse breaking through in the more tender moments of that second record. Seeing them headline the 2010 NME Awards tour, in the wake of that release, only cemented that view in my mind. Without getting too sentimental, it was one of very few gigs I will cherish for the rest of my life. The fact that Bombay Bicycle Club, who have also split now, were on the undercard that night has only magnified those emotions.
It was Given To The Wild, where they fulfilled this potential, breaking out of the over-populated indie-bracket to become world beaters. A wonderful record from start to finish that deserved to be listened to as a complete piece, earning them a Mercury Prize nomination in 2012. Not to mention breaking into the wider popular consciousness with single “Pelican.”
They then took their time before returning in 2015. Being spotted in the meantime at London’s Sebright Arms by one very over-excited fan.
When they did return, my did they do it in style. Marks To Prove It is an incredible album and in that sense, it’s a fitting place to step aside. Quit whilst you’re at your peak.
This band have given me so many great times over the years and are one of the few bands that I have a true affection for. I feel connected to them having seen them grow and blossom. I want to put pen to paper and say thank you to The Maccabees for producing some of the best music of my lifetime and soundtracking some of the best times of my life. You will be sorely, sorely missed.
One thing is for certain, however, I will be seeing them off in style at one of these rumoured farewell shows.
And I’ll never forget this first time I heard this slice of indie-deliciousness as an angsty teenager.