The Maccabees – Given To The Wild album review

The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

What if everything we thought about the state of the music industry was wrong? What if the short term view taken by labels where bands get dropped if they don’t go supernova on their first album wasn’t the case, and bands were allowed to ripen with age? Well, maybe that is the case. Because the new Maccabees album, their third for Polydor, is the sound of a band who have quietly grown up.

Just to confuse matters more, they’ve got in Tim Goldsworthy to produce the record. He’s best known with his work with David Holmes and Hercules & Love Affair, but the album isn’t a dance record in the slightest. It’s all very confusing indeed.

And if all you’ve heard so far is the single, Pelican, you might well be wondering what on earth I’m going on about, because that’s exactly what you would expect from the band responsible for Love You Better which was all over the radio a few years ago:


So, just to recap, The Maccabees have grown up, but they’ve put out a single which sounds like The Maccabees everyone knows and loves, and they’ve brought in a dance producer, but made a grown up rock album. Are you still with me? Good.

Given to The Wild is a far more ambitious album than 2009’s Wall of Arms. While a couple of tracks hark back to the choppy guitar sound of old, most of the backing now is laden with reverb and echo and the songs are bigger and slower. Their peers are now no longer bands like the Futureheads – they’ve moved up a league and will now be joining record collections across the country alongside bands like Doves and Elbow. Sonically, there are more  parallels with Doves – the chiming guitars, and the ability to still pull out a more upbeat song when called for. This is an album with much wider appeal – their spiky indie now replaced with a shimmering wall of sound which will hopefully propel Brighton’s brightest hope to the big league. Tracks like Child or Heave are slow motion masterpieces that have the potential to open up the band to a whole new audience, but still sit happily alongside tracks like Went Away or Feel To Follow which could easily be singles that the old fans will embrace.

Their gig at the Dome in March is already sold out, as are their upcoming dates in London, which bodes very well. This could be The Maccabees year.

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