Swear I'm not Paul: Review: Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Review: Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing

Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing album cover art

Got my hands on the new Manchester Orchestra album the other day, and I enjoyed it so much on first few listens, I thought I'd have to let you guys know about it. They're not actually from Manchester in the UK, but actually from Atlanta, Georgia. Frontman Andy Hull does sound Manc though! Not only are they not from Manchester, but they're also not an orchestra. Instead they're a five-piece indie band that you should be noticing on your radios in the near future. if not, you must be listening to the wrong station. Mean Everthing to Nothing is the band's second album and the follow-up to the brilliantly-titled Like a Virgin Losing a Child.

The song here are much more rough and ready than the predecessor and mark their transgression from somewhat interesting to being an excellent group in their own right. The reasons for that are two-fold. One, they're now older and wiser than their teenage debut, and two, they've got the same producer as the Raconteurs in Joe Chiccarelli.

They said themselves they wanted the album to be a darker record, like Weezer's Pinkerton, and this is exactly what they've achieved. They haven't lost the instant hit of the better parts of the debut, but what they now have is a replayability factor. You'll want to explore these songs further, you'll need them to get under your skin. Opener 'The Only One' and closer 'The River' are fin examples of this. The opening track drags you in before the rest of the album suffocates you with feeling. 'I've Got Friend's is somewhat tongue in cheek and glows in the brilliant refrain of "I've got friends in all the right places / I know what they wan't / and I know they don't want me to stay".

There are many references to Jesus and God and religion on this record, but after hearing it, you'll be further away from the Lord than ever before. For Hull and co., rejection of religion is just as relevant as embrace. But whatever your religious leaning, you can enjoy this gloriously dark record, and I really suggest you embrace Manchester Orchestra sooner rather than later.

Manchester Orchestra - 'I've Got Friends'

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