Artist- Manchester Orchestra
Album – Cope
Genre – Indie Rock
Rating – 7/10
Manchester Orchestra are a indie rock five piece from Atlanta, Georgia. They formed in 2004 and have released several EPs and four studio albums: I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child, their debut album released in 2006, Mean Everything To Nothing, released in 2009, Simple Math, released in 2011, and their newest, Cope.
From the very first note on Cope, I noticed that there was something different about this album compared to their previous work. The new tone is a departure from their previous tone, now relying heavily on rich, fuzz distorted guitars and bass, possibly stemming from the resignation of their former bass player, Jonathan Corley, and the addition of Andy Prince to the lineup. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant surprise. From the moment COPE starts, it just keeps coming at you, relentlessly steady. There’s no real slow moment on the album, and each song fits together on the album; all equally heavy and catchy, though some personal favorites are Top Notch, Girl Harbor, All That I Really Wanted, Indentions, and Cope.
While not necessarily ground-breaking work, Cope proved that they can step out of their shell with something completely fresh feeling and original, yet still have their familiar feel. Hull’s lyrics range multiple topics on the way we deal with multiple situations, from grudges and divorce, to internal struggle and war. Yet, you’ll find yourself humming his melodies and probably singing one of the plethora of catchy one liners. Overall the album’s mix is very flat, but it works well; Hull’s vocals, the heavy guitars, pounding drums, and bright keyboard form together perfectly.
From the catchy, heavy riffage of Top Notch (I found myself humming it after few listens), the album drifts on, without feeling stale or boring, till it hits All That I Really Wanted which just explodes in with catchy guitar riffs and bending keyboard notes that catch and hooks you. The track has a somewhat tense feeling that hits with the main riff, drops down, then builds back into the main riff a couple times, but has a playful feeling to it, leaving you wanting more. From here the album hits a nice high point with excellent songwriting and arrangement, with Trees and Indentions, before the tempo drops a bit on See It Again.
Just as the slow burn of See It Again goes out, the cinders reignite on Cope, with it’s intense fist pounding beat. It was really a perfect ending for the album, bringing together the pounding feel of the album and a feeling of closure as Hull’s lyrics dissect coping itself. Fans of their past work may find the new sound a bit off, but settle in as that’s just about all that’s changed. Hull’s lyricism is great as usual and the songwriting is still wonderful, though I’m sure the new sound will draw in plenty of new fans. This album deserves a few listens and fits right at home in Indie Rock.