By The Maccabees
The Maccabees third offering arrives a whole 5 years after their debut 'Colour It In'. Back in 2007, early single 'First Love' paired The Maccabees with other leather-jacket-clad indie rockers of the time such as Bloc Party and The Futureheads. At the time, given the chart success of acts such as The Libertines, it seemed that if a band knew their way around the Gang of Four back catalogue and could squeeze a riff out of a slightly out of tune guitar, they were destined for greatness, but things have changed since then. With many sections of the music media prematurely declaring the death of guitar-led indie music, The Maccabees have found themselves in a hostile environment to release their 'difficult third album'. However, Orlando Weeks and co seem undeterred by the slump in popularity of their particular brand of indie rock and have instead decided to follow the lead of recent success stories Foals and Wild Beasts. Both with Mercury award nominations under their belts, these bands (whilst keeping indie rock as their base) have experimented with atmospherics and timings to set themselves apart from the constant waves of indie dross riding on the New Musical Express, and therefore have not only found themselves a whole new audience, but also pointed a new direction for indie rock itself. Tim Goldsworthy's (LCD Soundsystem, Massive Attack) production gives The Maccabees a sound that makes them exciting and inventive in 2012. Intro track, 'Given to the Wild', beautifully and gently eases the listener into the record, whilst the piano instrumentation on 'Ayala' adds another dimension to the album's ever-evolving sound. So great is the standard on this record that single 'Pelican' almost feels like a weak point, the high point undoubtedly being stomper 'Unknown', a track which is almost Muse-esque in its epic proportions. It is true that Weeks' lyrical insights aren't the greatest but it is hard to pick on the lyrics when the instrumentation maintains its quality. Ultimately, The Maccabees must be applauded for their fearless attempt at reinvention as an indie rock band in 2012, whilst so many fall by the wayside. They've not only created their best album to date, they've also rubbished talk of a 'difficult third album'. Now where are those critics that declared the death of guitar-led indie music....?