The Maccabees have matured. Of course, the term ‘matured’ actually just means that the band have managed to get a decent producer in to twiddle knobs and make a slightly-above-average indie band sound a bit eerie, with added layers, and clever echoing vocals. So, still with annoyingly youthful non-matured faces, the band set out to make 2012 their year with a proper grown-up record!
Anyhoo, the London band have spoken of a debt to The Stone Roses, Kate Bush and David Bowie during the recording of ‘Given to the Wild’. Of course, they didn’t want to admit that first single ‘Pelican’ is catchy and annoying in an easy-to-consume-Pigeon-Detectives-meets-Kaiser-Chiefs type way did they?
Electric Banana feared the worst when we first heard ‘Pelican’ – as, although the song sounds good now, we are sure it will tick us off in a bout 6 months or so! However, those of you lucky enough to be blessed with the fantastic combo of good quality ears and a decent enough IQ will be delighted to hear that the band DO actually leave the safety of the traditional indie template that is demonstrated on ‘Pelican’ behind. Phew!
For example, ‘Child’ starts off like a gentle and dreamy tune that would be perfect in the middle of the night – but then launches into a hectic-ish finale to wake your neighbours. Brilliant! The dubstep beats at the start of ‘Go’ will have you flicking through the album sleeve looking for James Blake’s name in the credits. ‘Ayla’ has a twinkly piano backed by some lovely fuzzy choruses. But if you are boring and prefer the old Maccabees’ sound, then ‘Feel To Follow’ can be filed next to ‘Pelican’ for instant ear cat-nip.
‘Given to the Wild’ isn’t quite the dazzling “grown-up” indie masterpiece that guitar music craves. In fact, it is sadly edging more towards a “pretty damn good” review rather than a “wonderfully outstanding” one here. However, Orlando Week’s fantastic Jeff Buckley impression on this album deserves full marks.
Album of the year? Nah. Fear not, we have a good 11 months to find that!
Words by Andy Parker