Manchester Orchestra - Cope
Record Label: Favorite Gentlemen Records
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
After a stagnant period in my life in regards to not finding any new, good music, I was about to give up my search and let the music just 'come to me'. I had about 3 or 4 'go-to' bands that I could listen to their entire discography and that was about it. Then, I finally found something inside of the melodies of Manchester Orchestra. The five-piece band, who does not hail from Manchester (they're from Atlanta!), nor are they an orchestra, blew me away with Simple Math when I discovered it around November of 2013. Every track was a breath of fresh air to me. When I find a gem, I instantly scour for other efforts that the band in question has put out. Sure enough, Mean Everything to Nothing entranced me in just the same ways. I still found Simple Math to be the superior album, as it showed off a more mature frontman in Andy Hull.
Needless to say, I really like MO.
When I heard they were recording Cope for a release this year, I was super excited! April 1st came and the first thing I did when I got home from school was listen to the record. Then I listened to it again... and again.
With the sure-to-be-fan-favorite "Top Notch" as the album's opener, Cope doesn't start off joking around. Tim Very's drum beat accompanied with Hull's dynamic voice carries this track to its climatic finish, with Hull reaching some very impressive high notes. "Chose You" is very pleasing to the ears with interweaving vocal passages along with a catchy guitar riff that will linger in your head long after Cope is over.
"Girl Harbor" is arguably the most Simple Math-y. The chorus "You waste so much time/ On desperate friends" sticks out as the most catchy of the whole album. "The Mansion" is the first song on the album that I lost interest in halfway through. To me, it was simply underwhelming.
With "Every Stone", a song right up there with "Top Notch" has just the right amount of hard, soft and buildup. I would equate it to the track "Simple Math" but with a new home on Cope. "All I Really Wanted" is the best song off of Pinkerton that Weezer didn't write. Maybe I'm crazy, but the synth at the start and Hull's troubled love life just screams that vibe to me.
"Indentions" is a very smooth, relaxing track that really shows off Hull's voice, lyrical skills and the rest of the band's musicianship. "See it Again" and "Cope" tie for my favorite tracks on album. Those eight minutes truly show the direction MO took with Cope - hard hitting ballads with ponderous lyrics and killer finishes.
One of the only gripes I have with this album are its choice of bonus tracks. They should just be part of the album! They really are great additions to Cope. "Never Really Been Another Way Out" to me reminds us all of our mortality and how no one will make it off this earth alive. "After the Scripture" is great somber tune that is the most stripped down song that Cope has to offer. Andy Hull's voice along with a dirge-like guitar in the background is all this track has to offer and yet the pictures that Hull's lyrics paint are vivid and wonderful.
Overall, Cope is a great album. Within its 38 minutes, my appetite for new MO was satisfied, while my favorite aspects of their previous efforts still ring true through Cope. Andy Hull and the rest of the Orchestra never fail to disappoint!
See it Again***