Right Away, Great Captian! - The Bitter End
Record Label: Favorite Gentleman Records
Release Date: January 14, 2007
Andy Hull is quite possibly one of the best new songwriters of the past few years. Sure, he's not going to make Rolling Stone as the next Bright Eyes or Bob Dylan, and Pitchfork would probably write him off quicker than they would eat up the new Of Montreal album. Hull is as quiet as Sam Beam and possibly as metaphoric while possessing the simplicity of his friends and peers Jesse Lacey and Kevin Devine. With his main project, Manchester Orchestra, most can tell how Hull and co. take simple song structures and make them into something big and something real. The Bitter End is not going to be Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea or The Microphones's The Glow Pt. 2, but the raw underlining is present.
The Bitter End is the first installment of a three part project Hull is working on. The album has a boat leaving harbor in the 1600's with the lead character aboard. The lyrics read as a diary. For an entire review of the album, Hull has put up his reasoning in a blog on the band's Myspace page.
"Oh, Deceiver" begins the record with simple string plucks and Hull's quiet and questionable undertone of the lead character. From the very beginning, it's clear the character is unsure of his voyage, what will happen, and where he will end up. Anyone who has heard I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child will find this common with Hull's songwriting. The same struggles with God ("Right Away, Great Captain," "Captain, I'm Fine and Thanks for Everything"), love ("Love Come Save Me"), and life in general ("Like Lions Do," "Cause I'm Scared of Dying") lie across this record.
Where The Bitter End falls is its length. While only a handful of songs seem to stand out on their own, the record works better as a whole. I feel the same way about The Glow Pt. 2 for the most part, though it's a wonderful album. My feelings are the same with this first part of Hull's quest. The record should be taken as a whole, and return listens will be few, but possibly wonderful when visited again, like great moderation.
I'm excited about where this project will travel next, and I believe Hull is always looking to expand on what he has previously done without abandoning his sound. Honesty and humbleness fill The Bitter End just as it does I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child. Thank you Andy Hull, for being no greater than anyone in his room writing music just to themselves, or to someone higher, or just trying to get those thoughts and simple melodies out his head.