The Maccabees – Given To The Wild
The Maccabees have always seemed to us as the epitome of ‘indie landfill’ – so much so in fact that we had decided to not even bother reviewing this, their third album. However, given the wide range of reviews of Given To The Wild currently online – from NME.com declaring it a classic, to the Guardian dismissing it as Coldplay-copying codswallop – we decided we had to stick our oar in!
Starting with the Coldplay references, we don’t know what copy of the album Kitty Empire at the Guardian has been listening to, because Given To The Wild sounds absolutely nothing like Coldplay. If she accused them of copying Foals, we could understand – because it definitely sounds like The Maccabees have been listening to Total Life Forever a lot! Which brings us on to the talk of this album being a ‘modern masterpiece’ and bearing resemblances with The Horror’s Skying – it’s not nearly original or inspiring enough for that kind of talk, but it is a decent album.
‘Child’ shimmers and dazzles in all the right places and ‘Feel To Follow’ provides great momentum to the early stages of the album – moving through the gears from a delicate start to a breathtaking climax. ‘Ayla’ keeps the pace up with a driving rhythm and catchy little chorus before ‘Forever I’ve Known’ takes centre-stage and blows everything else The Maccabees have ever done out of the water. Its siren-esque guitars ratchet up the tension and provide a captivating backdrop to Orlando Weeks’ moody vocals.
From thereon in though, Given To The Wild kind of falls away. ‘Heave’ is probably the one song that sounds a bit like Coldplay, and it suffers from it. Lead single ‘Pelican’ seems to have come from a completely different album and epitomises the ‘indie landfill’ sound of jagged, punchy guitars and annoying multi-tracked vocals.
‘Unknown’ is the last song that makes a lasting impression and shows we were wrong to initially discount this third album from The Maccabees and demonstrates they are capable of being something more than uninspiring indie fodder.
Given To The Wild is not the modern classic the desperate-for-a-decent-guitar-band media would have you believe, but it does suggest that The Maccabees could yet become a band of substance.
What do you think of Given To The Wild? Join in the discussion in the comments below…
Buy Given To The Wild from Amazon.co.uk