Thursday, May 19, 2011

Manchester Orchestra Adds Simple Math

Andy HullIt might be named after an English city, but indie rock band Manchester Orchestra was formed in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. And like many suburban youth felt from time to time, frontman Andy Hull was so frustrated by small town attitudes and sameness that he spent his senior year at home studying while writing and recording his first full-length album.

Although Manchester Orchestra was meant to be a solo project after his first band collapsed, his close friendships with the people he wanted to invite to play — including Chris Freeman — formed a kinship as thick as blood, a feeling Hull now shares with his fans. He says as much in the music.

"We built this house your hands and your time and your blood" is a direct reference to fans on the album Simple Math on the song Virgin.

According to Hull, Simple Math was the most fluid creative process of anything they have ever created before. And you can hear it in every note. While many albums have throwaways that I sometimes refer to as "we need another track" songs, you won't find any on this LP. Simple Math gives each and every song an explorative depth it deserves.

The title track is one of those songs. Although Hull, who has been married for two years, never had an affair, he was able to contemplate the consequences of having one while writing it. The final cut, however, works on an even bigger scale as Hull and company transform the emotion behind Simple Math as any careless accident interrupting well-plotted lives.

Simple Math sets the tone of the album, best described as growing up and accepting responsibility instead of blaming everything or anyone else. So while the title track is speculative, other songs are not. April Fool was written immediately after he and his wife had hit an impasse. He came home and she had left, forcing him to recognize that everything they had together was over.

They later reunited, but you'll find Hull still infuses introspective lyrics into his sometimes soothing, soulful harmonics and sometimes unabashed rock threads. He's not the only hero, of course. Freeman (keys), Jonathan Corley (bass), Robert McDowell (guitar), and newcomer Tim Very (drums) play perfectly together to create an incredibly cohesive fourth album.

All in all, Simple Math has a much fuller rock sound than the band's previous outing, Mean Everything To Nothing. And while none of it quite approaches the aggressive awesomeness of 100 Dollars on the last album, Simple Math raises the bar with its equal parts feeling and foreboding.

In addition to April Fool and Simple Math, download Deer, Leave It Alone, and Pensacola for starters. But don't be surprised if you go back to download the rest of the album.

Simple Math By Manchester Orchestra Adds Up To 8.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Some tracks cast the die for the Manchester Orchestra to transcend being a great indie band and put them one step closer to becoming a future rock influence. It's the kind of album that perusers come back to again and again, appreciating that Manchester Orchestra has something unique going on. They own their songs in more ways than one.

Simple Math by Manchester Orchestra can be found on iTunes. Simple Math is also on Amazon and a vinyl edition can be found at Barnes & Noble.
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