The Maccabees
Given to the Wild


4.0
excellent

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
January 13th, 2012 | 18 replies | 1,975 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Soothing the January blues…

The Maccabees 3rd LP features an album cover that holds a subtle but succinct hint at what Given To The Wild has to offer to those bored with the scant January music release schedule, should they invest the time. It’s a warm, bright scenic image spiced up by flames pouring into the fore; on the brink of a dominating eruption that threatens to take over the beauty at any moment. Given To The Wild lays out something conceptually and structurally similar across its value-for-money, 5 minutes short of an hour runtime – an album that glistens with a fresh, organic beauty but constantly threatens to run wild as guitars begin to strum faster, drums are thrashed with greater vigour and the intricate melodies sprint towards a frenetic and thrilling conclusion.

That’s what makes Given To The Wild one of 2012 first great LP’s. It’s a carefully constructed, lush album; refined and restrained but in a refreshing and compositionally mature fashion. As the opening title track’s mellow tones set the scene and effortlessly segue into ‘Child’, one hears a band who are firmly in control of their vision and aren’t afraid to take things at a pace slower than what the charts demand. The set grows and moves organically; most tracks seem perfectly matched to their predecessor and successor, sharing guitar flickers that somehow evoke ripples of water in a serene lake, and feather-soft vocals that float above like the clouds.

But things rarely get tedious as The Maccabees have a solid formulaic knowledge in tow throughout Given To The Wild that keeps things fluid and moving, if not hugely dynamic. That serene lake and its neighbouring clouds can soon turn into a storm – the clouds part and the heavens open as the lushness evolves into an energetic wash of sprightly guitar flickers and subtle synth-orchestra backgrounds. This not only takes place across the albums 13 tracks – as the set moves into gradually more lively cuts as time rolls on (see one of the highlights, ‘Pelican’) – but often in the course of a single song, as per the lovely ‘Forever I’ve Known’.

But whenever a storm arrives it remains firmly under control – a storm in a snow globe if you will. These lads have reached a level of maturity and their ability to slip into a comfortably handled, restrained approach is both admirable and a pleasure to behold. Having not followed The Maccabees’ career as much as would be necessary to be in a position to assess whether this is their strongest effort yet, one can unreservedly admit this, regardless: Given To The Wild is a beautiful, capably constructed record and arguably one of 2012’s first greats.



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user ratings (58)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3)
An album that's a lot easier to admire than it is to love....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just realised how close to 100 reviews I am. Got something special planned for that... Anyways, Ali already posted a review for this today but I wrote this last night and we have different views on the record it would seem, so I went ahead and posted anyway. Enjoy!

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm comfortable with my 3.5. It's nice little record, but nothing really groundbreaking. Just as The Vaccines were, last year.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

True. I really enjoyed it, and I like the way it's put together. The Vaccines had better singles but this has a better whole.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great write-up as ever Tom, we seem to agree on the highlights at the very least.

I don't really think that you can compare this to The Vaccines because of the difference in their ambitions. To me, at least, The Vaccines music is written primarily with the fun aspect in mind, whereas I think that The Maccabees are at least trying to break new ground on this record. The record that I can see parallels with is Foals' Total Life Forever.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, i didn't quite get that Vaccines link either, clercqie! Perhaps he was just comparing two current British indie bands? Thanks for the praise dude.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, like I said:

It's nice little record, but nothing really groundbreaking.

I wasn't comparing the style, if that's were the confusion comes from ; )

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, I get you now bro : ) comparing the quality not the style.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6011 Comments


good review, pos.

Digging: Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you very much! ^

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6096 Comments


Nice review, on the fence about listening to this

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers. Yeah man, i can get why some wont dig this - very mellow and refined and that aint to everyones taste - not normally mine but i enjoyed this. Maybe because it's quiet in Jan.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tom, listen to the new Cloud Nothings album. I'm pretty sure you'll dig it

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll give it a try dude.

Nomad
January 14th 2012



247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Somehow I knew either you or Ali would review this Tom. Good review as ever.

Need to check this out, been digging the hell out of Pelican this week.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks bro. Pelican is a really nice track and although it's slightly more sprightly than most on here i think you should still find some to enjoy.

Fugue
January 15th 2012



7352 Comments


Cool review man, this is my current obsession at the moment, could well up my score to a 4 if a it continues to grow on me. Early days obviously but Unknow is going to be pushing for my song of the year.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 15th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dude.

Blaizend
January 20th 2012



647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules.



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