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A different more dreamy sound for The Maccabees
Given To The Wild - The Maccabees
Member Name: Chandelier
Given To The Wild - The Maccabees
Advantages: Pelican is a fantastic tune and there are some other great moments. Dreamily atmospheric
Disadvantages: Not as immediate as previous albums nor does it contain as many good tunes
Given to the Wild was different to what I was expecting - given both the previous Maccabees albums and the singles that I had heard before I got the album, but because they are a band that change from album to album, perhaps I shouldn't have been too surprised.
The opening two songs Given to the Wild and Child have a dreamy, spacey feel to them which set the scene for the album.
Feel to Follow feels more like The Maccabees, particularly the first album, although a gentler, more wistful version, slightly reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club. It has a more distinctive tune than the first two tracks and the up-tempo bits are some of the most intensely engrossing of the album.
Ayla opens with a hook of jaunty arpeggios, then is overlaid with a lovely melody. The mood turns a little darker at the bridge with some insistent guitar chords introduced. It isn't the most immediate or coherent track at first, but it has some real depth within its layers.
Glimmer returns the album. to the dreaminess of the opening tracks but doesn't really grab the imagination and is a bit of a disappointment. Forever I've Known seems to start out as if it will be similarly unmemorable as again their previous ability to write a cracking tune is cancelled out by instead trying to create a sense of atmosphere. The guitars do latterly build to something more interesting but it is not up to their former high standards. Heave also feels like half a good song, at the start meandering before picking up into something a little interesting (although also a little Coldplay-esque).
When Pelican kicks in, it is a real jolt, as here are The Maccabees I've been missing. This is as good as much of their first album. Fantastic tune, fantastic tempo, than weaves a gorgeous multi layered musical web. This is a real shooting star of a song and is the high point of the album.
Went Away is very different from anything thus far - much more vocally driven, but the insistent drums give it a graceful energy to go with the floating guitars. If Pelican is a shooting star, this is a ride along in an open top car.
Go has less of an impact, but it's slow tempo and atmospheric guitars would lend themselves to a soundtrack for a day lazing about in the sun. Unknown is darker and choral but again lacks a really distinctive tune or guitar hook to make the song really compelling. Slowly One also feels like it is haunting the background rather than striding to the front and make you listen for the first half of the song. When the fuzzy swirling guitars pick up half way through the track, it becomes much more interesting and complex rush of exhilaration. Grew Up at Midnight builds towards a fantastic climax, a haunting and heady mix of guitars, vocals, keys and what sounds like it might be an organ, it has a real choral feel to it and is a fitting album to the album, not immediate or catchily tuneful, but evocative and dream like.
The album certainly grows on you more and more as you listen, but has less of the tuneful immediacy of the previous Maccabees albums. It only has a couple of stand out tunes, most notably Pelican. The band have gone for something more mature and involved than their previous work, but I don't feel they have quite pulled it out of the bag.
Summary: A bit of a disappointment but it certainly has an atmosphere to it and it does grown on you.