Non-religious rockers

The Maccabees - credit Andrew Whitton
The Maccabees - credit Andrew Whitton

THE Maccabees have a lot to live up to.

The London band have been hailed as the saviour of British guitar music - a genre whose legacy includes the Clash, Led Zeppelin. the Beatles and Sex Pistols.

Not much to ask, surely?

Well, yes, actually. The burden of being Britain’s next best rock band is a pressure that the band is bound to feel, especially as their UK tour looms.

The band have only played about half a dozen of its songs live, so so between now and the tour which opens in Edinburgh on March 5 they have a lot of rehearsing to pack in.

But as Britain’s rock and roll rescue operation, Maccabees are armed with enough ammunition to woo crowds. The Maccabees will first play a series of already announced gigs to coincide with the release of their third studio album, Given To The Wild, last week - including the Leadmill this Saturday.

Despite having just hit the shelves Given to the Wild is already set to become a top five album, the best chart rating of the band’s career.

The album is an ambitious work, with layer-upon layer of musical texture and organic-riffs pieced together over a 22 month period. Not the sort of material that can be learnt over night.

The band released its debut, Colour It In, in 2007, though they have come a long way since then. Lyrical themes have evolved to take in life as adults - not merely young men falling in love or lapping it up at the local swimming pool (the inspiration for an entire song on that album).

Sheffield is significant to the Maccabees. It was here, more than two years ago, that the band recorded an album with the Dodworth Colliery Band. The colliery band - which formed in 1836 - recorded an all-brass version of the Maccabees Can You Give It?, one of the band’s B-side singles.

The collaboration with the Dodworth Colliery Band was the Maccabees’ idea as the original record touched on quite a lot of brass and the band wished to expand on this sound. The Dodworth Colliery Band version is an organic alternative to the DJ-led remixes that most bands opt for.

The name Maccabees was picked at random, after they were flicking through the Bible. They insist that none of them - frontman Orlando Weeks, guitarists Hugo White and Felix White, bass player Rupert Jarvis and drummer Sam Doyle - are religious, though the name, Maccabees, actually refers to a rebel Jewish army.

This Saturday, supported by Trailer Trash Tracys, the Maccabees bring their non-religious rock and roll to the Leadmill.

The question is, are they its saviours of another step towards its downfall?