My iPod #461: The Maccabees – Good Old Bill

Sorry there was a no show yesterday. Was out watching Shakespeare at the RSC Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Much Ado about Nothing, if you wanted the specifics. Was really good. But you get two posts today. So it’s all good.

If it turns out that the new album by The Maccabees – which is supposedly finished and should be out sometime this year – isn’t that great, I think I will always recognise Colour It In as being my most preferred album of theirs. Before they went on to discover more atmospheric productions for Wall of Arms before establishing that sound in 2012’s Given to the Wild, the band’s first album captured the five members in their most…. naked form I guess you could say.

And “Good Old Bill” starts it all off. Though it is left off of the international versions of Colour It In, which I don’t really understand. The track is about a member of the band’s grandfather – who we can assume his name was Bill – sadly passed away after giving a traction engine to a museum. On the day he died, the museum rang up their grandmother saying that engine wasn’t working and asked if Bill could come up to have a look at it. The engine wouldn’t start without him.

Still, the song brightly begins the album despite the sad context. Set to a sprightly 6/8 time signature for the majority, “Good Old Bill” gives an introduction to all the members from the mood-settling guitar work of the White brothers to the trademark whimpering vocals of Orlando Weeks. After a minute and a half and a few mysterious seconds of silence, three sudden smacks of the snare and open hi-hat signifies the song’s ending in which fast 4/4 tempo is introduced, the performance becomes more strident and brighter with joyous choral ‘oooh’ vocals bringing it to a satisfying close.

So yeah. That’s “Good Old Bill”. Been good since I heard the album exclusive on NME all those years ago.

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Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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