Portraits & Walls

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The Week’s Release: 1/9 – 1/15

There is definitely some proven strategy behind a January release, but  it’s too early to tell if such a maneuver will boost the record sales for the year’s early releases. In the meantime, why not decide for yourself and check out the past week’s releases, featuring The Maccabees, Snow Patrol, The Shins, Various Cruelties and Nicola Roberts. Enjoy!


Given To The Wild by The Maccabees

Released on January 9th, The Maccabees third album, Given To The Wild, is being widely regarded as the group’s best album yet. The Maccabees have been cited in the past for mimicking the sound of other bands (the group has even admitted to this notion), however, Given To The Wild  is credited as the first album in which The Maccabees sport a sound that is truly their own.  This notion is reaffirmed by listeners and band members alike, even Orlando Weeks, vocalist and guitarist, remarked  “I don’t think you can say it sounds like any one particular band, and I think that’s the biggest achievement for us; that it sounds like ourselves.”

Given To The Wild  takes us on a musical roller-coaster, layering genuinely thoughtful lyrics over swelling string sections at times, then abruptly changing the musical backing to fast-tempo drum beats and guitar licks.  Given To The Wild features impressive musicianship, however, one of the strongest aspects of this album is the lyrics; gently crafted by Orlando Weeks, they reflect themes of nostalgia, love, family, life and maturing in general.

 Overall, I give the album a 8/10. This album is clearly one of their best works, but there is still room for improvement. I would recommend giving Given To The Wild a listen, however, if you’re looking for this album to be like Colour It In, you may be disappointed.

What the Critics Say: The album has generally been positively received, however a few debbie-downers  have voiced their opinions. Metacritic gave the album a 73, indicating, generally favorable reviews.

The album is beautifully structured, leading from spare and shimmery beginnings into harder, weirder and more varied territories, all those snippets and elements and personalities crafted into a shifting, subtle whole that quietly captures your attention from start to end.” – Emily Mackay of NME.com

“If only all bands had the guts and honesty of The Maccabees, maybe they’d get round to making third records as good as this.” – Alex Denney of BBC – Music

it’s all pretty much Viva la Vida all over again, only with better lyrics.” – Kitty Empire of The Observer

With festival-ready riffs, an epic but contained soundscape and a set of contemplative stories, The Maccabees are making a lot of the right noises at the right time – and we’re sure they’ll be on the receiving end of the right kind of attention.” – Lewis Corner of digital spy

Balancing their most tender moments with their most diverse and devastating, The Maccabees have returned as a highly evolved beast more than ready to be released into the wild world.Kyle Huntington of The Culture Press

“Pelican” – The Maccabees

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