CD Review: Manchester Orchestra — Mean Everything to Nothing

Manchester OrchestraMeanEver Manchester Orchestra
Mean Everything to Nothing
Favorite Gentlemen

BREAKING NEWS: Atlanta is no longer the Home of
Hip-Hop. Manchester Orchestra (Andy Hull on vocals, guitar, Jonathan Corley on bass, Jeremiah Edmond on drums, Chris Freeman on keyboard, Robert McDowell on guitar) has put Atlanta’s indie-rock scene on the map as a
force to be reckoned with. The jury was still out with the band’s debut album,
Like a Virgin Losing a Child in 2007, as to whether this was just another
hipster emo band, but even after the first listen of their latest album Mean
Everything to Nothing
, you realize this is a band who has grown into their
sound, and is ready to share it with the world. 

Released on the band’s own label Favorite
Gentlemen/Canvasback, the album is a raw, urgent, and emotional 11-song
compilation, a record that can be listened to from start to finish and leave you
wanting more. The dramatic effect is emphasized by the fact that the first six
songs on the album bleed into each other, creating a full frontal musical attack
on it’s listeners.

“I like the fact that there isn’t a chance during
the first six songs to say anything if you’re listening to it with somebody,”
admits Andy Hull, M.O.’s frontman and lyricist. 

Recorded last fall in Atlanta and Nashville on the
heels of touring over 300 dates with the likes of the Kings of Leon and Black
Rebel Motorcycle Club, and after playing several U.S. festivals, such as
Coachella and Lollapalooza, the album reflects the band’s ability to gel
together and to produce a sound that is stadium encompassing. This
accomplishment is perhaps owed to the master work of studio veteran Joe
Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, The Shins, The Raconteurs) and longtime M.O.
friend and producer Dan Hannon, who managed to turn the album into a very
well-oiled machine. 

The album is broken up into two halves, the first is
filled with Hull’s primal screams, the angst of a soul searching youth, and the
second is the reflection on his self-realization. 

The CD revs up at the start with “The Only One,” a
friendly reminder that Andy Hull is the “the only son of pastor who does the
things I do.” Then, moves right into “Shake it Out,” an emotional rage to God.
The album’s first single, "I’ve Got Friends,” opens up with dreamy keys
and Hull’s soft melodic side before growing into a deeply intense pop
anthem. The guitars are heavy, and while Edmond pounds away at the drums, Hull
pours out his emotions, “I’ve got friends in all the right places / I know what
they want and I know they don’t want me to stay.” 

Mean Everything to Nothing is Manchester
Orchestra’s gift to Atlanta, and we want them to stay.


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