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49 Reviews
5 star:
 (35)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album!
This really is a fantastic album, probably just topping Wall of Arms. It's not an immediate album, but man does it get better with every listen. I've been playing it daily since it was first released and I'm still not bored of it. It really is an album of real depth. Don't listen to the negative reviews, just go out and buy it, I'm already confident this will be one...
Published on 30 Jan 2012 by Mr. Kevin C. Mullins

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit less polish please!
This CD has attracted some very good reviews. One, however, suggested that in trying to hit the big time, The Maccabees had pressed the button in the studio marked 'Coldplay'.

Indeed they have. If you like Coldplay, you will like this. Me? I think that with a little less muso polish they could have made a better album.
Published on 6 Feb 2012 by John


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tricky Third Album pulled off with Aplomb, 22 Jan 2012
By 
N. Thorp (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of the Maccabees since their jangly debut. The second album added a bit more sophistication to their repotoire, and the release of this third album is a real step forward. Arrangements and more complex, the mood set by songs more deep and meaningful, and there are a few blinding songs to boot.

Not as immediate as the first two albums, and I guess there are no real 'obvious' singles - Pelican as the opening single is as near as it gets. However, repeated plays reveals the strength and depth of the songs on offer, and rewards the listener in many different ways.

A definite grower, and a high water mark for this band. Catch them on tour this year.....
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strength to Strength..., 19 Jan 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of the Macs for a couple of years now, and was worried how this latest album might fare, compared to the excellent Wall of Arms, and their great debut Colour It In. Many bands can pull off their second-album, great bands will make that second-album something special, but all too often the third (or more) albums start to falter... I believe success too-often sates the creative appetite. That said what about Given To The Wild? Well, I am pleased to say that it doesn't disappoint, with a maturer yet darker tone to it. You know when an album is good when the first play brings an instant smile to the lips, and the more plays it gets the better it becomes. Stand outs are Feel to Follow, Ayla, Forever I've Known and the ethereal Glimmer. Though there's not a bad song on the album - maybe the intro may leave some cold, but if you want this reviewer's opinion then buy it. Buy it now.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year already?, 16 Jan 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
The Maccabees have been on the go for a while now and always produced great songs on great albums. Given to the Wild however, has to be their best album to date. It's one of those rare fully formed albums without a single duff track. If the rest of 2012 is this good then it bodes very well indeed.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Album, 12 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
It's definetely another grower. Of course Pelican (Single Track) stands out initially, but there's some other pretty good tracks on there too, no real 'filler' as such either. I reckon i'd be giving it 5 stars with 3 or 4 more listens. Quality Album.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome album, 22 Feb 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
This album is a great listen. Perfect to listen to whilst you are out in the open countryside. If you liked the xx album then this is along the same chilled out vibe. Stick it in the CD player and you will end up with it on repeat. Awesome.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Saviors of British Guitar Music?, 28 Jan 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
The 'saviour of British guitar music' are back with their third album 'Given To The Wild'! Aren't you excited!?

The album opens with the title track that ironically enough doesn't contain any guitars until the final few seconds. The track is treated as an introduction, to set the premise for the story they are about to tell and to give the listener an idea of what to expect from an album which has been two years in the making. This is a shame as the track resembles whale music. The self indulgent synth piece does nothing to excite the listener, it merely lays down an opening statement which might as well read "We've added synths to our sound. Enjoy". This then gracefully fades into 'Child'. One of the stand out tracks from the album, it has a rhythm section lifted straight from the Kings of Leon back-catalogue (which I might add is KOL's only saving grace) which creates an enticing backdrop for the vocal melody. The vocals on Child are some of the best on the album thanks to the way they are supported by the guitars and well placed brass section. For the remainder of the album it has to be said that the vocals become weak and lost amongst the production heavy layering, but we'll get onto that in a bit. The tempo change really gets the pulse racing and places the thought in your head that this could be an exciting guitar album.

'Feel to Follow' carries on in a similar vein but met with some melancholic guitar reminiscent of Coldplay circa 'Rush of Blood...' with the tempo change feeling very much like you are in the familiar Maccabees territory of their first two albums. As the track unfolds, the guitars and drums add real excitement and angst in equal measure and by the end of the track you start to believe that this could actually be a good guitar album. Unfortunately the following track, 'Ayla' opens with what I presume is a Casio keyboard set to a Mody inspired demo. This is the point when one starts to feel the heavy presence of Producer, Tim Goldsworthy. Although the track has some very interesting instrumentation and the progression, although not very challenging is engaging, the overall feel of the song is let down by the lack of dynamic. By the time the final chorus comes in I lost all interest as it became a boring wash of instruments without any real purpose, a theme that carried on through the following three tracks.

Its not until 'Pelican' that things start to pick up and it does so in Maccabees fashion with nods to The Clash and The Jam. Although nothing really progresses within the song it holds the listener with its energy and punk routes. Its not a surprise Pelican was chosen as the album's lead single as its the most organic sounding piece of music on the entire album.

'Went Away' is named as such as this was the point when the band left the studio for U2 to turn up and The Edge dug up some guitar lines he omitted from their previous albums. There really is a lack of imagination on this track which is exemplified by the cringe worthy line, "hold me close, don't let me go". 'Go' is the point when Producer, Tim Goldsworthy makes his biggest impact on the album, turning The Maccabees in to one of the acts he has previously worked with, Klaxons. The synth percussion and sampling is married with Arcade Fire style anthemic vocals and topped off with a touch of Tears for Fears which all makes for something that could sound brilliant but in actual fact just sounds over-produced and messy.

The final few tracks continue in a similar washy, over-produced nature, never getting to the heart of their intended messages before culminating in 'Grew Up at Midnight' which is the album's last hurrah, showing off every string to its bow. Opening with an honest and fragile vocal, the track expands with synth strings and intentionally understated drums, building steadily before Goldsworthy apparently explodes all over the mixing desk to create the biggest crime of the entire album; ripping of 'Clocks' by Coldplay. Every single instrument and sound that has appeared on the album erupts into life creating an ending that, like most of the album, sounds over-calculated and dishonest. The infinite layering of unnecessary instruments and vocals begs the question if this is guitar music at all, which takes us back to the accolade 'saviours of British guitar music'. This is a statement born from a discovery that bands such as Kings of Leon, The Strokes and many bands before them have made: delay. Adding delay to an instrument adds grandeur and expansiveness that fills stadiums. Adding delay to everything though is a bit like watching an episode of Casualty in slow motion, really rather boring.

my-thoughts-your-eyes.blogspot.com
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One-hit wonder, 11 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
When I heard Pelican on XFM in late December I loved the song immediately. So I pre-ordered the album on Amazon and was really looking forward to listening to it from start to finish. The album arrived and I immediately listened to it in its entirety. I was totally underwhelmed, feeling that all the other songs were really lacklustre compared to Pelican. So I put the CD in my car and have listened to it over and over again, hoping that it would grow on me. Unfortunately it hasn't. I still hear Pelican on the radio and really enjoy it - but the rest of the songs just don't have the same energy level.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ONLY OK, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
I've listened to this several times and to me they sound like Fleet Foxes. One or two tracks are good but not great.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some calm please., 16 Jan 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
"Pretty, lovely, fine, fair, comely, pleasant, agreeable, acceptable, adequate, satisfactory, nice, benign, harmless, innocuous, innocent, largely unobjectionable, safe, forgettable."

Yes, I stole that intro from a particular Pitchfork review but it could very easily have been written about this album, this decent if rather unspectacular third album by the badly named Maccabees. That this album is being received so highly is, as royalty once put it, a sign'o'the times; we are so used to bad or middling music that when something quite good (emphasis on quite) comes along we rant and rave and slap the old "masterpiece" label onto it when in reality we all know that it isn't anywhere near that level, this isn't Blond on Blonde, this isn't a game changer...

But, of course, something doesn't need to DO something to BE something, and this IS something, this is DECENT indie/ alternative/ whatever the hell it's called. Pelican is the catchiest song of January thus far, Child is mint, and there are about half a dozen obviously fine songs dotted throughout, but "fine" isn't good enough anymore, I am sick of fine, 2011 gave us 1000 fine albums as did 2010.

Fine = Forgettable

Maccabees = Fine
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