The Maccabees

Given To The Wild

Written by: TL on 15/02/2012 22:52:00

The few of you readers who aren't either punk-, metal- or hardcore purists may have noticed that I've been trying to expand on our coverage of larger indie rock bands over the past year or so, and while doing so, I did at one point come across London six-piece The Maccabees, jumping on their two previous albums because I got the idea that the band were a mix of Arcade Fire and Frightened Rabbit, both of which are bands I much enjoy. Despite my best intentions however, I never got around to writing about either 2007's "Colour It In" or 2009's "Wall Of Arms", but seeing as the band is playing in Copenhagen on Sunday (and I'm going) now seems the perfect time to write some words about the recently released third album "Given To The Wild".

I think the best way to describe this album is to say that, if The Maccabees previously sounded a bit like Arcade Fire, they now sound like a band that are in mid leap between the level of bands like Arcade Fire, White Lies and Foals - and the level of bands like U2 and Coldplay. I put it like that, because "Given To The Wild" is clearly neither here nor there, but the richly textured, lofty indie rock songs it offers have plenty of moments to have you want to align The Maccabees with either one grouping or the other.

That being said, simply classifying "Given To The Wild" as a record that sounds like those bands would be an unfair reduction of its sound. Take the first song on the album, "Child", as an example. It showcases the album's vibrant bass sound on a line that could've been on a Death Cab For Cutie album, while all sorts of ambiance/keys/effects create an atmosphere that is akin to that on the most recent Bon Iver record, and singer/guitarist Orland Weeks gives us the first taste of his very Win Butler (Arcade Fire) ish singing.

Speaking of ambiance though, one important thing to realise when diving into this record is that it is more of an atmospheric record than a collection of easily enjoyable singles. Sure, songs like "Child", "Forever I've Known" and lead single "Pelican" are all great, and they'll give you fix points to navigate the record by and hooks to sing along to, but there are just as many tracks that are nowhere near as obvious, and while I would normally hold this against the record, it's just such a pleasant listening experience that I don't think it's fair to count it as a weakness. Frankly, the sound and mood of the disc is just so classy and exotic, it has me thinking of the most recent U2 record "No Line On The Horizon" - which was also super elegant music - and makes me reach for the comparisons to them and Coldplay that I drew earlier.

Overall, I think "Given To The Wild" is a rich and characteristic album, that will help The Maccabees build a stronger profile than the one they had of just being a band that sounds like those other similar bands. Furthermore it offers quite a few good individual songs, and is super nice to listen to back to back as well. It may not offer singalongs or air guitar material at all possible moments, but hey, sometimes you also have to rest your voice and body and just use your ears, right?


Download: Pelican, Child, Forever I've Known, Unknown
For The Fans Of: Arcade Fire, Foals, White Lies, U2, Coldplay

Release Date 06.01.2011
Fiction Records

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