Who is Manchester Orchestra?
Manchester Orchestra is an Atlanta, Georgia indie rock group who struck wide spread success with their debut album “I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child” in 2006 and have since released 5 albums throughout the years, going through a number of different members and changing their sound quite significantly in the process. Their music has been featured in many TV shows such as “Gossip Girl”, “Skins”, “One Tree Hill”, and “90210” which are all fitting in the subject matter of the bands content: heartbreak, moving on, personal discovery, etc. Andy Hull is the vocalist for the band, and is the co-president of their label “Favorite Gentleman”. He also plays in a side project “Right Away, Great Captain!“.
I was first introduced to Manchester Orchestra when their album “I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child” came out. I loved this album for its complex indie drumming and twangy garage-rock guitars mixed with the Bright Eyes sounding, innocent and heartbroken vocals provided by Andy Hull. The band reminds me a lot of Bombay Bicycle Club mixed with a hint of Brand New and Metric, minus the electronica. Singles like “Wolves at Night” are both hard-hitting rock songs, and emo-folk epics. I hadn’t really dove into the rest of their discography for no particular reason, just had kind of forgotten they existed to be honest. My dad sent me their latest album “A Black Mile To The Surface” the other day when it was released. The first songs that caught my attention were “The Alien” and “The Gold”. Instantly you can notice that they’ve changed their sound to a more Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men appeal. It seems these songs would fit perfectly in the opening set for a Mumford arena show at the 02 in London.
“The Gold” along with the rest of this albums track list, seem to use a heavy amount of metaphors, with most of the songs titled “The …”, in this case “The Gold” is using the act of mining a goldmine to represent heartbreak in a relationship. “I don’t think I love you anymore, That gold mine changed you” which is meant to imply that the gold in this mine represents the goodness in the relationship, and how they have dug and pillaged all the goodness in their time with each other, and are now left with vacant excitement and compassion; an empty mine. I noticed a general theme in instrumentation on this album, seems to be very broad/epic yet repetitious guitar riffs, driving/moving bass lines and drumming, and almost a sense for longing in the vibe you are getting here. Andy doesn’t seem to get as passionate with his vocal delivery as he once did in the bands’ debut album, but I can also see the need to hold back to fit the universe this album is bringing us to. My favourite track would’ve had to been the final track “The Silence” which is a 7 minute epic that starts off somber and innocent, but explodes into a wall of beautiful indie rock magic that perfectly ties in the rest of the record and leaves you with a satisfied feeling after a rollercoaster of heartbroken metaphors and sorrow, but also a strong presence of hope and future discovery.