The moniker Manchester Orchestra (MySpace) uses is a bit deceiving. It hints at something one part British and one part orchestrated. Yet Manchester Orchestra is neither. Instead, the group features one of the catchier, however, more mainstream-ish sounds in independent full-fledged rock.
One of my favorite tunes off Manchester Orchestra’s sophomore release, Mean Everything To Nothing, out April 21 (next Tuesday), is “Shake It Out”. It has a catchy chorus, catchy verse phrases, and a wonderful little breakdown… what you’d probably label as the bridge. It’s powerful and emotive. “I’ve Got Friends”, while equally as catchy, doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor – it’s number three on the album, whereas “Shake It Out” is the second track.
Mean Everything To Nothing is best when frontman Andy Hull delivers his emotion through a blend of louds and softs. It’s why “Shake It Out” is such a great song, and why “Pride” borders on epic. Manchester Orchestra excels at dishing out intense, head-bang-worthy guitar riffs and adding atop them Hull’s pinched screams. For the rock-monger, this is heaven.
That being said, not every song on the album is a hit. “In My Teeth” is somewhat a dud, and “My Friend Marcus” and “Tony The Tiger” lack some of the intensity of the tunes on the first half. In fact, the most enjoyable track on the second half is the mellow “I Can Feel A Hot One”; that and the lengthy closing track “The River” and its predecessor (the title track). But, overall, what the second half lacks in power the first half makes up more than tenfold.
The conclusion: Mean Everything To Nothing is solid, in-your-face rock that’s more accessible than your standard bizarre-o indie group yet will still make the boss/mom/dad request the volume be taken down a notch as is blasts through your speakers.
1. The Only One
2. Shake It Out
3. I’ve Got Friends
5. In My Teeth
6. 100 Dollars
7. I Can Feel A Hot One
8. My Friends Marcus
9. Tony The Tiger
10. Everything To Nothing
11. The River