Following up their 2009 release Wall of Arms, The Maccabee’s, whose brand of indie has always been creatively left of the centre, return with their most atmospherically experimental record to date. Whist the avant garde-like vocals of lead singer Orlando Weeks are still as apparent as ever, it’s the set-the-scene type production that makes you realise that they’re moving in the right direction as far as maturity and collective growth goes. Gone have the student life bicycle anthems, and instead you’re left with 13 artistically sonic tracks that could so easily provide the backdrop to a breakthrough British independent film.
Opening with the title track as an introduction, the happy-go-lucky lads from London push deep from within with a few vocal cries over a handful of static notes that give off the impression that you’re twisting and turning through your own mind for a moment. Not giving you the chance to dwell too much, without a pause for thought the track then leads straight in to the horn aplenty ‘Child’. A slow and euphoric number with a real sense of lyrical detail, Weeks‘ charismatic articulation gives the song a sense of mystique - the understanding of the track is hard to grasp yet you’re drawn in anyhow
Having taken almost two years to put the project together, a sense of achievement is easy to pick out when listening to Given to the Wild. The fact that The Maccabees have enlisted the help of both Tim Goldsworthy of UNKLE fame, whose recent work with Hercules & Love Affair seeps through in to this release, and Bruno Ellingham, known for his work with LCD Soundsystem and Massive Attack, is not something the average artist is able to make work. So when tracks like ‘Glimmer‘, ‘Go’, or even ‘Heave‘, passes through the listener’s ear you’re left feeling like you were just privy to an exclusive live recording of epic proportions because of how good they really are
With word that the band recorded this album in a slightly different manner in comparison to their previous two works - each member reportedly went away and concocted what they were thinking and then reunited at a later date to put it all together, it’s obvious that something changed. Now whether it’s the fact that lyrically there are less tales about in-depth love, like previous hits ‘Love You Better’ and ‘First Love’, or maybe it’s because Weeks’ vocals come a close second to the band’s new and innovative production, you just won’t be able to put your finger on it
Putting it simply, The Maccabees seemed to have constructed a well thought out project with an instrumentally descriptive backdrop that pushes the boundaries of music. Life, love and late night tales are on the menu as far as topics of discussion goes, and there’s a lot more if you read between the lines.