It comes as no surprise to me that after almost three year gap after releasing their second album Wall of Arms, that The Maccabees would come back with a more mature, confident and experimental sound with Given To The Wild. While listening to this album, its quite hard to believe that this is the same band who, on their debut album Colour It In that was released in 2007, were singing about the wave machine at the Latchmere Leisure Centre in London. Given To The Wild represents a significant development in the band’s sound as it focuses on layers of complex horn segments.
The first track, “Child”, kicks in after a two minute long instrumental. I first heard this track back in 2010 while the band were testing out new material and warming up for the Reading and Leeds festivals at the Concorde 2 in Brighton. It rolls in gently, and singer Orlando Weeks is atop in a dreamy and more relaxed vocal, but then all of a sudden the said horn segments kick in towards the end of the song, making it a song that was designed to please even the biggest of Maccabees fans.
Future single “Feel To Follow” is one of the record’s highlights in the way that “Love You Better” and “Can You Give It” demonstrated before whereas “Ayla” is carried along by a scintillating piano.
With its underlying programmed beats, “Go” is yet another highlight as its radio-friendly chorus and piercing guitar solo making it one of the stand-out tracks on the album. “Pelican” was the first release from Given To The Wild and is my favourite track on the album. It’s something that you would expect to hear on a Maccabees album, with the fast-paced guitars and infectious melody. It is set to be a staple track in the band’s live set and will be igniting pits up and down the country on their impending UK tour.
Given To The Wild makes for some uneasy listening in places, but is sterling in others. Instead of resting on their laurels or taking the easy option, The Maccabees have made an album that was a risk but it pays off. This is the sound of progress. A record that gives current fans something new and fresh, and that will undoubtedly find them many new fans too. The Maccabees enter 2012 waving the flag high for British indie, and have set the bar for other bands to shoot for. And yes, it’s only January but I expect to see this in many top 10 albums of the year lists, come December.
© Lauren Towner, Music Vice
Given To The Wild is out today in the UK and tomorrow, Tuesday 10 January in Canada and the US
Internet links: The Maccabees
The Maccabees – “Pelican”
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