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Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 9.25
Production 8.75
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.77
Lyrics 9.01
Production 8.86
Creativity 8.72
Lasting Value 8.96
Reviewer Tilt 9.08
Average: 89%
Inside AP.net

Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child

Reviewed by: Adrian Villagomez (02/14/08)
Manchester Orchestra - I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child
Record Label: Canvas Back / Favorite Gentlemen
Release Date: October 14, 2006; July 24, 2007 (re-release)


The death of a father. Our inescapable mortality. The realization that even the darkest times in life can be followed by hope. Manchester Orchestra’s debut album I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child does not stray from weighted issues on singer/guitarist/songwriter Andy Hull’s chest. This album was first released in late 2006, but was re-released on July of 2007, which is when I received a copy and heard the band for the first time. I requested I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, because I recalled Jared Kaufman having an affinity for the band, and I trusted his judgment. It’s been months since first spinning this album, and as I’ve moved my attention (“affection” may be a better word) from first song to last, I’m in with Manchester Orchestra for the long haul.

In searching for a way to describe I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, I keep coming back to the word “heavy.” I do not mean heavy in the gravitational sense (I wouldn’t want to confuse Doc Brown), but as a fullness that’s anything but shallow. In writing songs Hull crafts characters and connects them to emotions - not the kind of theatrical fluff littering mainstream Hollywood, but the sort found in a beloved and dog-eared paperback of short stories. The album is craftily introduced by one of the more upbeat and quickly accessible songs in Manchester Orchestra’s collection, “Wolves at Night.” Keyboardist Chris Freeman sets a pop/synth rock tone for the band initially, and it is an enjoyable sound, but it’s soon discovered that both highs and lows encompass Manchester Orchestra’s full sound. “I Can Feel Your Pain” slows the pace down and finds Hull alone with a guitar, continuing the theme of Christianity found throughout the album: “I compared your Jesus to a thief / And he took my bones and he turned them into bread.”

There is beauty found in these songs for anyone seeking it. I was taken in by “Wolves at Night” and “Now That You're Home,” the first two songs found on the album, but it was “Sleeper 1972” that brought everything to a standstill. A minimalist approach to instrumentation places emphasis on what matters most in the sorrow filled narration; that is, Hull’s hushed voice and storytelling ability. There is not a word wasted in his introduction:

When my dad died
The worms ate out both his eyes
His soul flew right up in the sky
I cried myself to sleep

Hull hangs the black cloud of a funeral home over a family’s home that should be filled with joy, one in which a mother longs for her own death and a sister finds herself alone as emotions are turned inward and only serve to suffocate. This is the heaviness I was referring to earlier. Perhaps the best aspect of I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child is its ability to include varying emotions as part of separate scenes, so each song is of its own importance, but when placed alongside each other they feel stronger in their togetherness. The most recent Manchester Orchestra song to be placed on repeat on my music players has been “Alice and Interiors,” the title of which shows the band’s fondness for filmmaker Woody Allen. A desperate message to a fleeting love, Hull finds himself shouting out for one last chance and questions his own visibility, since his phone calls remain unanswered despite his attempts. After an interlude to contemplate his codependence and the futility of his efforts, Hull changes his tune, turning his frustrations outward to the one who won’t listen. He finds himself revitalized because of it:

‘Cause the truth is that no one truly knows
What the hell it is you’re doing
When they ask, “Are you dead
Or are you just sleeping?”
Oh yeah, I’m the one that is happy
I don’t like your shitty songs
You were wrong
Yeah, you’re always wrong

Months ago Manchester Orchestra were picking up steam; they were often talked about, and people were excited about the prospect of a new and talented young band. Maybe those people expected immediate gratification in the form of a new album, and by this point they’ve moved their interests elsewhere. I hope for their sake that’s not the case, because this album and this band deserve the attention of a wide and appreciative audience. I would like new music from Manchester Orchestra, but there’s no need to rush the band - I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child could hold me over for years.

Track Listing01. Wolves at Night
02. Now That You're Home *
03. The Neighborhood is Bleeding
04. I Can Feel Your Pain *
05. Where Have You Been?
06. I Can Barely Breathe *
07. Sleeper 1972 *
08. Golden Ticket
09. Alice and Interiors *
10. Don't Let Them See You Cry
11. Colly Strings

* = definitely download

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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 93.
09:30 PM on 02/14/08
#2
Adrian Villagomez
West of the World
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Buy this album if you like good music.
09:46 PM on 02/14/08
#3
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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Amazing album. Perfection.
09:48 PM on 02/14/08
#4
Adrian Villagomez
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Amazing album. Perfection.
If only you wrote this review - it could've used the Conny touch.
10:06 PM on 02/14/08
#5
Anton Djamoos
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Funny you post this, I was just wondering tonight why we didn't have this review in the database. Good review, sir. Now you're beating me in yearly count.
10:24 PM on 02/14/08
#6
Adrian Villagomez
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Funny you post this, I was just wondering tonight why we didn't have this review in the database. Good review, sir. Now you're beating me in yearly count.
Let's hit a combined total of 30 for the year. That'll prove our worth as reviewers.
11:08 PM on 02/14/08
#7
allisterkid
here since blink fansite
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hahaha, great job man. Funny stuff. Or maybe it's just cause it's midnight and I'm stoned as fuck. I should watch some fucking Seinfeld and head to bed. I'm too drunk.
11:32 PM on 02/14/08
#8
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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llllllllllllllloooooooooooooooooooo ollllllllllllllllllllllll
01:06 AM on 02/15/08
#9
jakeonaplane
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no love for where have you been?
01:08 AM on 02/15/08
brooklynburning
Enjoy it.
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i played where have you been 25 times the first day i heard it. not an exaggeration either. this album is flawless, start to finish. good review adrian.
01:14 AM on 02/15/08
tait
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Gah! great review Adrian! this album is beautiful.
01:15 AM on 02/15/08
TheWeakest
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no love for where have you been?
thats my jam right there.
awesome review, i'm surprised no one reviewed that before. andy hull is an exceptional lyricist and frontman. i saw them with brand new early last year, i was mucho impressed.
01:23 AM on 02/15/08
Adrian Villagomez
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no love for where have you been?
It's good. I'm listening to it right now.

thats my jam right there.
awesome review, i'm surprised no one reviewed that before. andy hull is an exceptional lyricist and frontman. i saw them with brand new early last year, i was mucho impressed.
Me too. It was reviewed by two users, but no staff members.

Thanks for the comments, guys.
01:37 AM on 02/15/08
Jamie Pham
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good review adrian!
01:57 AM on 02/15/08
Romancebled
Sleep underground tonight...
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such an amazing album! great review.
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