Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Kieran Shudall, Circa Waves: The Maccabees – Wall of Arms (2009)
The Maccabees – Wall of Arms. It feels fitting that it’s 10 years old this year. I should shed a bit of light on this record and the influence it had on me as a musician.
It’s hard to imagine how big an impact this record made on me. While The Strokes lit the fire in my belly for indie music, The Maccabees well and truly poured petrol all over it. Their debut Colour It In shaped my nights in Liverpool indie discos drinking 2-for-1 Red Stripes but it was their second album Wall Of Arms that inspired me to write in the way I do. You can practically pinpoint something in each song on this record I have unashamedly ripped off… from the sharp octaved guitars, the 16ths on the hi-hats and the delicate reverb-drenched vocals, I was absolutely hooked.
‘No Kind Words’ is definitely a stand out track. It drags along in an almost Massive Attack-style verse that feels so effortless. The vocal feels hymnal and hypnotic along with introspective and beautiful lyrics, it immediately grabs you. At around 2 minutes the track bursts into a bombastic attack on the senses. Guitars, vocals and drums battle it out to the end of the song almost as if they couldn’t decide what the main focus should be and it’s fucking glorious.
‘Love You Better’ also felt like a huge leap for the band. Using space and more unusual drum patterns it feels experimental but more commercial than previous releases somehow. The breakdown chorus using a lyric so honest and personal really showed me how indie music could have big emotional moments as well.
This whole record is such a triumph. A step up from the album before it and a great stepping stone to the brilliant Given To The Wild which is arguably even better. Wall of Arms however hit me in a point of transition in my writing and ultimately put me on a path to writing Circa Waves songs. That is why it was so crucial and important to me.
I got to see them once in Liverpool academy and could barely keep my eyes off them the whole show. Understated beyond belief they are a force to be reckoned with live and having met them when playing with them at a Romanian festival of all places I can happily say they are very sweet people and shining examples of what artists should be.
All hail The Maccabees.
Circa Waves have today unveiled the video for ‘Jacqueline’, the first single to be lifted from the new record, Sad Happy, set to be released on 13th March 2020.