'Toothpaste Kisses' is the tune which inspired this re-hashed record, so it's appropriate that we discuss it first. Apparently this is a 'new version', but you'd have to be one of the strange sorts that studies Guitar Weekly and Cymbal Magazine to notice much of a difference. Not that this is a bad thing. The record's just as gorgeous, swoonsome and delicate as when we first heard it. It's only January and we'll probably have forgotten about it come December - but if we don't - this should be a contender for single of the year.
However, there is much more to The Macs than a single juicy pop hit: Colour It In is packed full of treats like a bumper picnic basket. It's an album that's best devoured in the privacy of one's bedroom with a splash of alcohol and stash of tissues to weep into. Orlando Weeks' fragile and tremoring vocals underpin everything the band does, raising them above the thousands of other gangly indie nerds who've been doing the rounds since The Libertines. On 'About Your Dress', he unveils himself as one of the finest exponents of observational lyric writing in the country, expressing the awkward, bumbling difficulties of a first date with the sort of wry humour not seen since Jarvis Cocker pulled the plug on Pulp. Only the bold and the beautiful could fail to sympathise with a line like: "We danced all night, and I waited till the time was right when I was almost sick on you."
Equally lovely is the rasping and shimmering jingle-jangle of 'First Love'. After a scratchy guitar into it blossoms into the sort of tune Bloc Party might make if they were into flower-arranging and chasing girls rather than moaning about life in the Big Smoke. But it's not just the sweet and twee that The Macs deliver on. The truly bizarre 'Latchmere' is a bonkers rock romp about their local swimming pool in Clapham that perfectly captures the innocence and glee of a seven-year old boy getting his first experience of wave machine. Similarly, 'Happy Faces' reveals the band are dab hands at Futureheads-style jarring, stuttering rock, really going to town with the overdubbed backing vocals and multi-layered guitars that their North Eastern contemporaries excel with.
For those lucky enough to purchase Colour It In back in May of last year, this is all very old news. So what of the six bonus tracks that are here to tempt the hardcore fans into dispensing with their wodge a second time? We'll put it simply: they're not worth forking out another £12.99 on. While the melancholic, tender 'Just The Rain' and clattering title track are interesting enough tidbits, the rest, at best, are average B-sides that more than justify their exclusion from the original album. Plus, as with any re-worked LP, they distort the original balance of the album. Nobody - no matter how skinny their jeans - needs 19 tracks of indie maudlin. In conclusion: The Maccabees' debut is a cracker, but no more so than it was eight months ago.
> Click here for our recent interview with The Maccabees