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The Maccabees, The Leadmill

TOO much praise and hype can be a double-edged sword. So opening the first night of a fresh UK tour in Sheffield amid an ocean of superlatives for their new album could have meant heavy expectation for the London lads at Leadmill Road.

Judging by this shift, however, that sword could well be used to knight The Maccabees come late 2012 as elements of mercurial new record Given To The Wild have added subtle new muscles to a set that surely had this contending as a gig of the year, before January has even expired.

The band were already in safe hands, of course; tickets for their Leady return sold out in five days and many of the Maccabees faithful had already learned words to their new crop of epic missives, lead single Pelican threatening to be a crowd favourite to match that of William Powers and Love You Better.

Album three contains the ingredients to broaden rather than numb a show, based on this evidence, a smattering of the slightly less agile newbies serving as potent counterweights to the febrile, jagged edges of First Love and X-Ray.

In spite of being a seasoned campaigner, singer Orlando Weeks stills appears shy and awkward between songs. It’s an endearing trait, his tripping over words while telling the crowd how this gig is the start of their year. And what a year it is likely to be.

David Dunn