Riveting in All Things Rock: Manchester Orchestra’s Cope

by Charissa Lock

Single “Top Notch” easily sums up the characteristic of the fourth album.  Constructed by one of the only alt rock bands out there blessing our ears with modernized silky and distorted guitars, Manchester Orchestra has taken a different approach than previous release Simple Math, ceasing the tightrope balancing of genres and deciding to plug in to their harder and messier sound.  Yet, the production is so well executed you hear every note change.  Three seconds in and salivation ensues.

It’s not just about those zippy and grainy solos though, Manchester has chosen to shorten the distance the solos generally travel, which to them is an evolution change, but to fans may be disappointing.  Right when it all gets out of control, they leave you hanging at this almost unreachable level of intensity. In some aspects they have the right idea, not prolonging moments that are already doing their job.  Of course, to rock enthusiasts we never want that moment to end.  In lieu of conciseness, nothing else seems to be shortchangedAndy Hull never ceases to leave you in a boring moment within his stories and melodies, which are so catchy and emotionally ravishing, you quickly realize Cope [Loma Vista Recordings, Favorite Gentlemen] (Out Now! GET IT HERE!) is a grown up Means Everything To Nothing.

Having that weighty rock sound does cast a shadow over the entire album, so that the first one or two listens everything just tends to roll through without sparking specified significance.  But please don’t let this be your deciding factor, roll this through one more time and you’ll be able to separate and get cozy with these juicy tracks.  Once you start catching on to the individual melodies of each song, you absolutely will fall head over heels, fighting over what you favorite song may be…belting out with Hull during the multiple opportunities he allows…picking up on the pauses, drum rolls, guitar solos.  Cope is an under 40 minute chance to be completely consumed by articulately composed and emotionally uncontained head thrashing rock.  Of course I’m not comparing this to anything close to hardcore rock, since Manchester tends to follow a mainstream-like pattern in their construction and Hull’s vocals always brings us to a lighter side before letting his feelings overrule the chorus or transitions.


The guitar-work is so sexy, whether a filthy raw kind (“Trees”) or silky and smooth (“All I Really Wanted”).  Bringing things back to the sound we’re accustomed to from them, they’re able to fine tune and implement texture to catchy hooks and tasteful melodies.  Top tracks on this album are tricky, for there’s such rich and thick movement throughout you wind up obsessing over the entirety.   If I had to choose one that has slid into my soul at first listen and I find radiant from start to finish, it would be “The Ocean.”  Unlike Pitchfork, a recurring name of a rock track doesn’t persuade my love or hate towards a song (unless you’re Marina and The Diamonds – I won’t ever be able to take “Bubblegum Bitch” seriously).  The verses are typical Manchester with their assumed and never dissatisfied build-up, followed by a perfectly casted chorus, throwing your head back with tingling spreading throughout your body as you’re sucked into every ounce of Hull’s emotions.

Take a deep breath in, and slowly exhale the fiery brilliance Manchester Orchestra has to offer in their latest album.  A must listen for 2014,  and a must see as they’re already underway their spring US tour.

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TAGS: Boston Band, Loving this record, Sold out House of Blues, Silent Farewell – Today or tomorrow, “Girl Harbor”