“Someone said we sounded like a cross between Cliff Richard and Joy Division”, The Maccabees singer Orlando Weeks muses, trying to define their sound. “Cliff Richard used to look really beautiful. Like a man-boy,” he wistfully laments.
Not that the decade-spanning, rubber-faced knight’s influence can be heard in the band’s quintessentially English, spiky-guitar sound – they sound more like a cross between the Futureheads and a happier Interpol. At least their sense of humour and candid, down-to-earth nature is obvious. According to Orlando, following a cage fight with the audacious venue-pinching Justin Timberlake, they “brought sexy back”.
Sitting in the back of their new, spacious double-decker tour bus, the band go on to tell me about their forthcoming debut album due in April, produced by Ben Hillier and Stephen Street, who’ve worked with Elbow, Blur and the Kaiser Chiefs. Their impressive, air-tight live performances and catchy songs have managed to inveigle the reputable producers: “We wanted it to sound like the best live show you could come to.” But the band remains as cool as ever about their recording experience. “An album should be a snapshot of what a band’s doing at the time.”
The snapshot certainly looks promising; selling out almost all dates of their current tour, inciting word-for-word singalongs and critical acclaim to boot. Orlando even does the colourful and energetic artwork, “It’s cheaper and less arguments that way.” The band, who toured without drummer Robert Dylan Thomas on the last two tours (due to a broken arm from a punch up) asked friend Elliott Andrews to fill his shoes. Elliott enthuses that the experience was “amazing, mind-blowing, they’re the nicest guys ever.”
The guys are extremely nonchalant about their steadily building success and prefer to focus on the music, as well as keeping it decidedly real from any notions of scene or genre. “We’re pretty anti-social.” Orlando pipes in, “We don’t feel a part of any London or Brighton scene. But it’s not a conscious effort not to be.” With their feet firmly on the ground, there’s no reason why this band can’t be the mythical heroes the Libertines failed to be. Exciting times for an inspiring band.