Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Given To The Wild

Artist: The Maccabees
Album: Given To The Wild
Release Date: 6/1/2012

The London romantics mature and venture into an expansive world that sees them produce their most brilliant songwriting yet

It's nice to watch bands grow and mature, and wonderfully the UK has become reputable of late for delivering the goods on many bands' critical third albums. 2011 saw Bombay Bicycle Club, The Horrors and Wild Beasts slip into sounds and musical territories that saw them at both their most evolved and most comfortable. It's a fact that went on to make all of those records some of the most acclaimed of the year, and due to the fact that The Maccabees' third offering "Given To The Wild" sees the same kind of glorious progression it's likely that they will see the same level of long- awaited appreciation finally reach them.

"Given To the Wild" sees a number of marked advancements in The Maccabees' sound and mentality. Firstly, the sonic sojourns that they travel here suggest they've been listening to more of Wild Beasts and Sigur Ros than Young Knives. Orlando Weeks' songwriting still reclines in heartfelt matters, but this time for other reasons than just tough teenage break- ups, approaching his lyricism (and probably life in general) with a more "family matters" mentality and is more concerned with what the big wide world has to throw at him. The musicianship is also arguably the best it's ever been, spawned out of a clear homage to their influences.

"Feel To Follow" starts off like a much more sparse and much less sexed- up version of Wild Beasts' "Bed Of Nails" before exploding into a colourful rush of kaleidoscopic post- rock guitars and expansive, spacious atmospherics. The "less is more" technique is worked to wondrous effect on "Glimmer", a gorgeous, tranquil ditty in which brothers Hugo and Felix White's chiming guitar playing carries the song through with minimalistic brass in the background. The song on which the band pull together all their newly found creative elegance in the best possible style is "Forever I've Known". It starts off with pensive, soft- rock atmospherics before becoming a spritely fest of "Two Dancers"- era Wild Beasts duel tremolo picking between the White brothers and pounding drums as Weeks sings in a world- weary fashion "Forever I've Known/ Nothing stays forever." "Heave" follows it up sounding like it wouldn't sound out of place on Foals' "Total Life Forever" with its speedy, intricate picking, echoing atmospherics and near- inhuman drumming from Sam Doyle.

There are still moments here that you could attribute to The Maccabees earlier work. "Pelican"'s stop- start juddering is the closest they come to their typical indie fare of yesteryear but with the levels of maturity cranked up, and "Ayla" brings rising walls of brass to bear as were prominent on 2009's "Wall Of Arms." Remarkably however, The Maccabees slip into their new sound and skin with terrific ease, so that "Given To the Wild" never feels fake or contrived. Subtle but also overbearing, it's a coming of age record, and one that fully deserves your time and attention.

Download: 1) Forever I've Known, 2) Glimmer, 3) Pelican
For Fans of: Wild Beasts, Foals, Sigur Ros


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