Immediately this means that the quirky fun that people are used to hearing from this band isn't so prevalent on this album, instead listeners are presented with more tranquil and ambient offerings. This may serve as an instant disappointment for many who wanted more definitive Maccabees music but if it leaves you intrigued, this is an album worth checking out. It shows the group venture in various territories of the more sophisticated side of alternative rock and doing it pretty well indeed. It's seen as sparkling and serene riffs parade in the background of Feel to Follow as buzzing synthesizers and the delicate vocals of Orlando Weeks take the forefront.
This dream pop influence is easily used to broaden the bands range of emotion and personality of their songs and mass contrasts can be found between the uplifting Ayla which with it's massive hooks and fun horn-infused backdrops serves as a feel-good piece of music with a real sense of pleasant charm, and the slower less enthusiastic Forever I've Known which with it's dwindling basslines and soft vulnerable vocal performance carries a more melancholic artistic merit and a character of desolation throughout.
The group use this space rock elements to combine their sound with various other rock genres. Pelican sees the ambient synth infused style mixed with the catchy and hooky funk rock of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with a truly psychedelic result and the synthesizer backdrops of Go sounds like a modern and more subtle take on the ska-influenced punk rock of the 1980s. Needless to say, it all comes to a stunning and spell-binding effect and leaves listeners hooked.
In taking final consideration of this album, though introduction of this spacey more artful dream pop influence to their music as opposed to straightforward indie rock is a pure change for The Maccabees, whether it make truly more original is another issue. I wouldn't refer to this music as the music of "the poor man's Futureheads" but I may think of it more as the poor man's version of The Horrors' Skying, a truly brilliant display of dream pop. With that said it's still a pretty great album and very much worth checking out. Perhaps 2012 will be a year where more creative techniques of alternative rock crawls into the mainstream and art rock and psychedelia makes a stunning comeback. It's happened so far.
The Maccabees' Given to the Wild is out now via Fiction. The band will tour the UK throughout January and March.