Thursday, May 19, 2011

Album Review: Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math

I've never been the biggest fan of Manchester Orchestra or even Math, the only other math I've enjoyed is Mute Math but after Armistice which was incredibly boring I've lost interest in them. Simple math was aight only because it was simple and I could do it in my head, so for Manchester Orchestra's new album to be titled Simple Math it brought back memories of when I wasn't such a lazy student and found shit really easy, sure this might've been back in the nam' days but that's irrelevant. Again not a huge fan of MO but I always thought that after listening to them I should get into them more, they're almost like my Opeth of BAS in the sense that they're great and all but I never feel like listening to them, so to review this is somewhat of a task.

The vocals are so powerful and important for this band, starting the album off slow and stripped back for the track deer, the album immediately gets into the meatier side of the band with the appropriately titled track Mighty, I feel ideas of Alice in Chains, the guitar and drums showing grunge influence which is great cause I dig AIC and grunge for that matter. The vocals force its way to the front and Andy Hull does an amazing job of this, the song takes a turn to a much fuller orchestral sound (appropriate huh?), they certainly showing their intentions to explore early.

Being a predominantly Indie rock band they will still continue with a signature indie rock sound Pensacola and Pale Black Eye both look in this direction, nothing outrageous but still nice and keeping with the tried and true formula which has served this band well. An almost dark scene descends onto this album with the track Virgin, slowed down with a girl chanting to lead the track, Hull really brings out his softer vocals, combining well with the grim outlook in this, the group vocals bring this together really well.

This album doesn't really seem that simple, Hull explores so many ideas throughout, sometimes you really don't know what he's getting at and then he goes on to sing about simple math, the album is definitely spiralling into an abyss of BAS, but for now the orchestral instrumentals particularly on this track are phenomenal, something that makes this band so unique, not just that they do it so well because no one wants a "HEY look at us we have an orchestra we must be different maaaan" then have a bunch of loss tracks.

The songs on this seem to start of slow and build to end very strong and powerful, stripped back with maybe just a single acoustic guitar and finishing off with a strong full orchestral ensemble, its a nice way of going about things particularly with such a strong vocal presence over this but the song Leave it Alone sounds bland and predictable, nothing about it stands out not even the vocals or lyrics.

The last section of this album has been a little bit of a let down but it ends with a different feel, not dark, full, spectacular, almost like it meanders to the finish not trying to blow you away, merely letting you sink in the last song for all its worth as it fades away to nothing more. Overall this was strong, the whole album works well, the full orchestra added to the already strong presence of the rest of the band is a well worked formula that should continue to flourish, some down and predictable bits try to ruin this, but doesn't do so.

Overall Rating: 8/10

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