After about two weeks of some hardcore listening, it's pretty clear to me that Manchester Orchestra is neither British nor orchestral. Still, there's something defiant and clear-cut in the band's hodge-podge of influences, something clearly defined that helps the Atlanta natives stand-out against the backdrop of pretentious indie rock permeating the music scene as of late.
Manchester Orchestra's recently released second label-backed full-length Mean Everything to Nothing is as ironic as the album's title. MO front-man Andy Hull has cited a diverse list of influences for the sophomore offering, from Foo Fighters to Nirvana to Death Cab for Cutie. What ultimately emerges is a concoction of Smoking Popes-esque vocals, big Motion City Soundtrack hooks, Get Up Kids pianos, anthems and lyrics that would make Matt Skiba jealous, twangy Hot Rod Circuit riffs, Hold Steady honesty, and a definitive sound that is quite oft compared to the evolved stylings of Brand New (who ironically enough discovered MO).
In a recent Alternative Press article, Max Bemis even weighs in: "On the upcoming Say Anything record, I was inspired a lot lyrically by [MO's] Andy [Hull]...They are the band who will push kids to write and listen to better music."
METN is exactly that, displaying rich soundscapes of indie-emo explosiveness that bridges genres without spreading itself too thin. Universally relatable and widely acclaimed, METN debuted at #37 on the Billboard charts -- and it's easy to hear why. METN will identify a far better direction for the wayward world of indie music.
The entirety of Mean Everything to Nothing is currently streaming at Manchester Orchestra's MySpace. What nice guys.
"Are you the living ghost of what I need? / Are you giving me the best of me? / We will see."
- Manchester Orchestra, "Shake It Out"