Music

The Maccabees, O2 ABC, Glasgow

Lisa-Marie Ferla

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Three stars

The use of a telephone ring as rhythm section on one of the Maccabees' new songs is a clever choice.

I read once that the UK telephone ringing pattern was designed to be just arhythmic enough that the human brain couldn't tune it out. In a sense, then, it's like the London five-piece: there's something slightly off about them, something that stops the listener from writing them off as a run-of-the-mill guitar band.

Part of that is down to the vocals of frontman Orlando Weeks: his otherworldly wail adds a touch of the dramatic to "Wall of Arms" and the newer songs in the set; and warps the jingly, jangly melodies of early material like "Latchmere" and "Precious Time" enough to keep it interesting. "Young Lions" and "Love You Better" edge closer to generic festival fayre, but their big choruses and brass band-like synthesisers get the crowd going.

You get the impression that the Maccabees see themselves more as an Arcade Fire than a Kasabian: their approach hints at a sense of the grandiose in ambition, if not entirely in execution, while Weeks howls like a man possessed on the newer songs. New single "Marks to Prove" is decidedly popper in nature - but, with its slowed down bridge and strange Halloween-esque sound effects, the band's apparent desire to warp the mundane remains.

The road from novelty songs about wave machines to atmospheric stadium rock is a treacherous one, but there seems to be every indication that the Maccabees could pull it off. Given that, three years from their last release, there's almost enough in the set to piece a new album together it won't be long until we find out.