The Maccabees have grown up a hell of a lot since the simplistic, soppy days of the awkward, 'Toothpaste Kisses' and 'First Love.' Nowadays, it's not all about the 'hip' indie riffs and 'hipper' lovesick lyrics, the boys have matured and this record shows they're fulfilled. The Maccabees drawing book has finally been coloured in, with vibrancy and atmospheric images leaping proudly out of the pages. Their 2009 follow up, 'Wall Of Arms' just started to shade the pages softly, but for this they've found the Crayola felt tips, as well as their sound.
Opener, 'Given To The Wild' gives the light and airy impression that is conjured up for the rest of the lengthy 14 track offering. It's almost eerie with Orlando Weeks' echoing vocals intertwining with the carefree backing. Not really something to be listening to if you were in the forest alone, put it that way. The timid words of, 'Now it's so vivid' are beautifully executed, with some galloping phrases of solid guitars and springy drums in 'Child.' So, don't fret Maccabees fans, the indie-rock influences are still there, combining with this atmosphere.
There are some absolute gems hidden amongst the grassy rushes of the wild, 'Feel To Follow' and 'Went Away' have that understated single potential about them. 'Pelican' was released a few weeks ago, having that distinct Maccabees straight-up indie stamp on it, it doesn't really sound like the rest of this experimental album. But, it'd be the set ender that everyone went crazy to, no question.
'Ayla' has got a cracking rhythm with an elaborate brass section and some twinkling keys gleaming boldly. An unexpected feature is the post-dubstep beats that start 'Go', which underlay perfectly. If James Blake was in a band, this would be it. Bizarrely, it alters completely and sounds fit for a stadium, reminiscent of the epic impact that White Lies give. The bass is finally given the exposure it deserves in 'Unknow' warming up for a bolting crescendo of distortion and power. It's untamed and determined, like a predator chasing after his prey. Though the high vocals draw out in the calmer, nostalgic sections to pull you back to earth.
They say that the third album is the make or break of a band, but this record is what The Maccas have been working up to for the past half a decade. Though a few of the tracks are very alike and merge into one in the heady atmosphere they've delved into here. It's the one that will define them and propel them higher in the dizzy stakes of the music world. Best album of 2012? It'll be on the list for sure.