The Maccabees |Given to the Wild|
I cannot stress enough how much I adore this band. This English indie-rock group first captured me with their single ‘First Love’ from their debut LP ‘Colour It In.’ The track was fast and energetic but Orlando Weeks’ cooing vocals was absolutely endearing and wore me down with these touchy-feely emotions. I was hooked even more so when I saw Weeks’ puppy dog eyes in the music video. The Maccabees’ debut may have consisted mostly of nimble and vibrant tracks about tender moments but it was catchy, memorable serving as a very impressive debut.
Their follow-up did not fail to level up to their splendid debut. ‘Wall of Arms’ touched on similar heartfelt subjects but they have taken a different turn from bright and merry tunes. But it is no less dynamic than before. That endearing quality that this band consists is still prevalent throughout this album though with a slight maturity. It is clear that the band is evolving as they go from album to album, especially on ‘Given to the Wild’. Their tracks get heavier and more refined as they grow as a band.
The sounds from third album of The Maccabees’ might be almost unrecognisable compared with their previous work but Weeks’ swooning yelping is always a significant and noticeable aspect in their music. This time round, the band has ditched that high energy from their past two albums and has instead adopted an atmospheric, ethereal but weighty take for this album. The opening title track already has this spacious feel, affirming the assumption that this album is going to be in contrast to its predecessors.
Transitioning from the title track, ‘Child’ has a kind and dreamy introduction. When the beat kicks in and Week’s concerning vocal’s come in, a stirring emotion kind of surfaces. The addition of trumpets along with scintillating guitars makes the climax all the more striking. ‘Feel to Follow’ is an acceleration from the previous tracks. It has frenzied guitars that complement Week’s drawn-out yelping, racing drum beats and brief piano playing making for a stimulating track.
‘Ayla’ and ‘Glimmer’ both have a similar glistening aura that is quite ravishing actually. ‘Forever I’ve Known’ is initially clouded with a woeful eeriness but slowly picks up the pace while Weeks wavers delicately before a fearsome riff takes over. Weeks upliftingly chants “are we so different,” in ‘Heave’ which is just airy and pretty magical. ‘Pelican’ then starts to punch in and touches on the roots of their past work, sounding more dynamic than the other tracks on this LP.
The LP does start to get more energetic in the later half after ‘Pelican’ and with ‘Go’ being such an intense and overwhelming track that wouldn’t have been triumphant if it wasn’t arranged so sublimely. ‘Unknown’ has Weeks softly wallowing with a background set with instrumentals that is fuelled with temper and grit but soon surprises us with a calming female voice crying out “just while, love remembers.” As a whole, it closes off magnificently with ‘Grew Up at Midnight’. A sensation of blitheness comes over you as if you were reminiscing about your carefree childhood.
‘Given to the Wild’ is definitely a more polished and glossier album of The Maccabees. Commencing enchantingly and eventually leading to more hard-hitting and adventurous tracks. It shows that The Maccabees are maturing from cute and cuddly songs to something with a lasting and memorable impact. If you haven’t heard them, ‘Given to the Wild’ is sure to make you genuine fan.