The Maccabees Given to the Wild

Almost two years in the making, Given to the Wild, the third album from the Maccabees, ushers in a new direction for the Brighton, UK quintet. With "No Kind Words," from 2009's Wall of Arms, alluding to the changing nature of the group's sound, the musical maturation of the bright-eyed boys-next-door has manifested in an album emphasizing reverb, layers and atmosphere. Orlando Weeks's finely honed falsetto graces more than half of the tracks, but "Feel to Follow" and "Pelican" retain his characteristic warble and the energy fans have come to expect. Generalized comparisons to the likes of Arcade Fire and Coldplay have been loosely tossed around, but Given to the Wild clearly draws influences from older British mainstays like the Stone Roses, circa "I Wanna Be Adored." Many of the tracks share the structure of a slow and unassuming build-up, only to climax in a flurry of musicianship, or in the case of "Slowly One," a Theremin-esque blast of psychedelia. On "Unknow," the surprising juxtaposition between the soft, lingering lyrics and the hypnotic, accelerated rhythm distinguishes it as another of the record's highlights. The lads who used to frolic in the waves at Latchmere have come a long way, with Given to the Wild clouded in an air of nostalgia and the slight sadness that comes with growing up and older. (Fiction)