Manchester Orchestra have been quiet for quite some time. 2011’s Simple Math provided that fast, hard, and heavy rock sound that they have been known for, but the band has not been heard from until recently. For anyone that has been a fan of Manchester Orchestra for a while, the inter-band friendship between Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine, and Brand New is not secret. Kevin Devine and members of his backing band have been sporting plain black shirts simply showing the white word “COPE” while on stage. Likewise Manchester Orchestra has been slightly hinting at working on something new. Following the departure of their bassist this past year, the band started to release information about possibly doing a new record. Later on, frontman Andy Hull announced in an interview that the band would be releasing an album called Cope. The album is due out on April 1, and is currently available for streaming on Spin.
Following the release, the band will be embarking on a full US tour. Given the length of time between their last tour and this one, as well as the intense nature of their fan base, tour dates are likely to sell out quickly, especially in cities with more prominent music scenes. Supporting acts are close friend Kevin Devine, and Pennsylvania’s grunge punk band Balance & Composure.
A preliminary stream of the album reveals much of the nature of Manchester Orchestra’s musicianship on COPE. Fans will note that the band has evolved from the darker sounds of 2011’s Simple Math. Lyrically the songs keep in theme with the album’s title, as many of the songs feature tales of hardship and dealing with the pains of living through such hardships. Andy Hull’s vocals teeter between a gruff yell and a somber melody. Longtime fans will certainly take notice that the Andy Hull from the band’s first release, Like a Virgin Losing a Child, has endured quite a bit of weathering, and it shows in his music. Although it is easy to draw similarities between the feel of this album and a song like “Virgin” from Simple Math, the album as a whole sounds closer to 2009’s Mean Everything to Nothing. A majority of the songs sound like a hybrid of the experimental rock sound of Simple Math and the solid, pavement pounding, crunchiness of Mean Everything to Nothing. Songs with clever hooks, and soaring choruses will keep fans both new and old entertained for the entirety of the album.
Although Manchester Orchestra has a fairly large and reputable fan base, this album is likely to get radio play on local rock stations, garnering new attention for the band. In a time where even rock and indie oriented radio stations have been playing lackluster garbage, Manchester Orchestra’s Cope will be a breath of fresh air for those who have been searching for that one rock album to fill the void of passionate music. Expect to see Cope in stores on April 1, and also expect it to be in the car stereo for a good amount of time afterwards.
Opinion by Michael Foster