The Maccabees – “Given to the Wild”
After three years of anticipation, The Maccabees have finally released their new album, “Given to the Wild,” on January 6th of this year. We last had them touring the US with Bloc Party. Since “Colour It In,” their previous album, we have seen them rise on the UK charts. (As of right now it is number one on the UK charts)
In this album they put aside their older sounds which were the traditional indie jams from the mid 2000’s to draw a broader audience. They followed “Arcade Fire,” for a while during their second album, “Wall of Arms,” even to the extent of choosing the same producer.
Each track is a narrative and differs from each other so that it is not a repetitive album. “Given To the Wild,” is the first track on the album which welcomes the listener by engaging them in surreal and abstract sounds with a soft guitar ending it to transition to the first actual track of the album, “Child.” With that the ending of the album, “Grew up at Midnight,” is a well-crafted track which best ends the album with a superb build and jolting climax as well as a soft chord electric guitar. The chorus gives us an essence of joy and nostalgia.
“Heave,” is the song which is a reminder of “Foals,” guitar in, “Total Life Forever,” having the same themed strings. It starts off with a deep heavy synth and playful guitar with vocals that accompany the agony the synth gives the song. It then builds up to a nice interlude followed by a pulsating rhythm and beat that can only cause your foot to tap. It then ends softly starting the single of the album, “Pelican.”
The first song heard by the masses is, “Pelican,” a mellow song which sounds faintly familiar. It is the standard indie pop which we are all accustomed to. It is more of a song dedicated to devoted fans of the band. With that said the song is not something which would be considered a change of pace. The catchy lyrics and sprightful melody make it appealing but only to an extent. Unfortunately this song is a standard formula of indie pop track which at first seems good but then after a while becomes a bit irritable. Another song which is sprightful and melodic is, “Ayla.” It has a soothing and fast paced piano to start off but is an upbeat track which still reflects the band and their previous works.
Though the majority of the tracks are amazing and each give the listener a unique experience there is one which is a new direction for the band and is the defining song of the album, “Forever I’ve Known.” This track is the favorite of the album for its great vocals, lyrics, and instrument structure. There is more of electronic equipment used in this album and it is easily heard during the verses of the song. The song has a very powerful and robust build which easily would absorb you into the tranquil beauty of it only to hear the painful lyrics, “Took the cold from my head and I know. Know nothing stays forever. Forever I’ve known nothing stays forever. Couldn’t you just lie?” It keeps its structure and does not over exceed its sound. It’s hard to find a song which keeps in line, which is masterfully done by The Maccabees.
The album is not the indie pop sounds which we are accustomed to hearing, nor do they follow a specific formula. This album is a mature one with ambient sounds which move the listener in every direction. It could only be compared to “Foals,” latest album, “Total Life Forever,” and even that is a lose interpretation of the album. It also has characteristics of “Arcade Fire” and even small hints and slices of “Coldplay.” In its entirety, the album sounds like it was all done in one session with each ending and beginning of the tracks flowing fluidly without a single sloppy transition. This album is astounding and the first great album of the year.