The Maccabees have always polarised opinion and their third album Given To The Wild is no exception. The NME declared it a classic while the Guardian dismissed it as a Coldplay-copying load of codswallop. NMTBP takes a listen to what the South London quintet have to offer
The album’s opening track, ‘Child,’ rolls you in gently; singer Orlando Weeks is soaked in reverb atop a dreamy, chiming score, which three minutes in suddenly crashes into a feverish rhythm - it’s a journey designed to surprise and delight
Next track and new single is ‘Feel To Follow’ which starts with Weeks’ vocal and Sam Doyle’sdrums. The track is very calm until 2 minutes in where it explodes into wailing synths and smart guitars. ‘Ayla’ is a big departure from the usual Maccabees style with pianos and horns. It also showcases some of the best lyrics on the album, “It’s a weight off my mind I could trust you, You could tell me it’s fine”. It’s carried by a scintillating piano, with fuzzy choruses that reach like spires into swirling skies
‘Glimmer’ isn’t a song that you’d expect to find near the start of an album as it isn’t an instant pop song. It’s dreamy and melodic. Weeks’ lyrics mix nicely with guitars and soft drums. Backing synths make the track even more atmospheric. Stand-out track ‘Forever I’ve Known’ starts with a bass drum pounding moving to a soaring guitar and low bass combo. The chorus is the most dazzling part of the track which elevates The Maccabees to new beautiful heights
‘Forever I’ve Known’ blends splendidly into next track ‘Heave’ which is melancholic, sombre and very slow. It marks the midpoint of the album and showcases the weirder side of this album shown in the second half of the album. ‘Heave’ is probably the one song that sounds a bit like Coldplay, and it suffers from it
First single ‘Pelican’ moves quickly and is an instant classic. It’s stabbing guitars and piercing bass line give way to great vocals and superb harmonies. Weeks’s words cut deep: “We’re all getting older / And before you know it / We’re pushing up the daisies”. ‘Went Away’ is stranger than the other tracks on the album as it has simple synth lines and pounding drums
‘Go’ follows in the same vein but it showcases more drum samples and bigger bass lines. ‘Unknow’ is a big stadium epic that starts with an odd bass line and culminates in big guitars. ‘Slowly One’ is slow and soft and rather beautiful. Final track ‘Grew Up At Midnight’, like a lingering kiss, starts slow and soft, builds into a passionate embrace, then pulls away suddenly yet sweetly, leaving you begging for more as the album fades away.
From start to finish, Given To The Wild is a great record. It’s everything The Maccabees should be: big, slightly odd in places and beautiful. The Maccabees are fast becoming one of the finest bands on offer
They’re currently on tour so go see them if you can
Buy it here
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