Those farewell shows at Ally Pally back in 2017 may have signalled a grand ending (for now, at least) for The Maccabees, but it was never going to mean the same thing for their frontman. Author, artist, and soon-to-be a father, life kept coming fast for Orlando Weeks. A Quickening’, his first solo album, reflects just what a journey he has been on in the intervening years as it reveals moments from intimate settings and uncovers his fears and hopes for the future.
There is a general sense of astonishment and almost disbelief about what is happening to him and his partner that surrounds and fuels ‘The Quickening’. Whether it is the gorgeous ‘Milk Breath’, describing the simple moments of putting a newborn to bed, the exquisite ‘St Thomas’’, the sweetly honest ‘Summer Clothes’, or even the flights of fancy that power ‘Moon’s Opera’, you get a sense of Orlando discovering this new world he finds himself in and reacting with sheer joy and awe.
While his voice brings an inescapable echo of The Old Band, the arrangements and subtle use of space make for a completely different proposition. This is an artist, both metaphorically and quite literally, going through the birth of something wholly new. Individual tracks feel as delicate and fragile as a heartstring, only to later reveal that you are hopelessly, happily, ensnared in their grasp. The warm and lush production washes gently alongside stunning vocal harmonies and flourishes, meaning that an album deliberately shorn of Indie Bangers still lasts long in the mind post-listen. There’s so much to explore in this new world, you’re going to want to join him in his baby steps.