The Maccabees - Given To The Wild Review

It’s an elegant, refreshing album, one of the best record we've heard in some time.

rating: 4

Akin to those star-crossed lovers kept apart by feuding families in a nondescript 16th century play by a popular bard, myself and The Maccabees have faced similar opposition to our relationship. In our case though, unfriendly relatives were replaced by - a festival set in a sweaty tent by DJ Sub Focus whilst wiping dust from my teeth; bleeding the last drop of my heart out to synthpop duo Hurts in a similarly sweaty tent, with a little less dust; and failing to turn up at a Bloc Party gig in New York (The Maccabees were supporting). But, thanks to XFM Winter Wonderland, the unexpected illness of a member of The Horrors, and the casting aside of the Montague€™s and Capulet€™s, on 14 December 2011 our paths finally crossed. Love at first sight, however, it was not. But having sampled their live show, and enjoying it to a degree, I thought it was about time I got that long awaited Maccabees fix. And it came in the shape of third album, Given to the Wild. The one some critics are hailing as their 'mainstream breakthrough' album. GTTW the wild is, simply put, a beautiful record. As soon as album opener Child takes me in its arms, gently presses me against its heaving, soft bosom and tells me that "Never as a child/Would you give this the time of day", I am so convinced I would give it not just the time of day, but my all, my everything, that it strikes me that this is going to become far less a review, and more an ode to a new found love. The album meanders casually through the lackadaisical drum beat of Feel To Follow and by the time, three tracks in, Orlando is sweetly singing "I could make something right/Gentle with the kindness I'd like/So often it's a trick of the light, Ayyyyyyylaaaaaaaa" into my ear on Ayla, the idea that this might ever have been a rock and roll record is so far out the window that I can't even remember why I thought that in the first place. Whilst Heave and Went Away flirt ever so dangerously with Coldplay pastiche, Pelican adds the punch to an album that appears to be lacking any heavy hitters. But that may just be where the beauty of GTTW lies. It's not going to have your neighbours banging on the wall, nor your parents banging on the ceiling, but as each track floats seamlessly into the next, riding on the gentle wave of the most calming guitar chords my ears have been treated to in some time, I start to become enveloped by the whole thing. Having spent the past 400 or so words splashing exorbitant praise at GTTW like a flirtatious teenager, you may be left wondering why the rating is not a straight 5 stars. And the truth is that I like my music with a bit more kick, some edge and without hearing it churned out over a BBC trailer for the next series of Autumnwatch. There€™s a certain panache that I look for which GTTW lacks and it is also, in my opinion, at 13 tracks, a little too long. The record is without question breathtakingly, heart achingly beautiful and lyrically superior to most or all of the acts they have been likened to, and if it had ever got round to growing a pair it would have settled the 2012 Best Album polls that we get bombarded with, before the year€™s even a fortnight old. As it is, it€™s certain to be one of the main contenders. It€™s an elegant, refreshing album, and I can openly say that it is one of the best records I€™ve heard in some time, but when the request for rousing flamboyance comes calling, wherefore art thou Maccabees? The Maccabees new album Given To The Wild is available now.

Amateur blogger, Twitterer, professionally trendy, effortlessly indie and fan of all things Morrissey and The Smiths. Treat me with disdain.