2007 was a fantastic year for music, but unfortunately the first part of January is not a popular time for musicians to release new material. This week some digging was done to find an album suitable for review and a disc from 2006 made the cut.
Atlanta may be a city known for its hip-hop scene, but amidst the grills and spinners resides a rock band that has been gaining momentum. Manchester Orchestra came from mere obscurity and landed an opening position on a spring tour in 2007 with punk-emo heavyweights Brand New. Since then, Manchester Orchestra has ceaselessly continued touring and promoting their album, I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child.
The album itself has been described, by the band, as the story of one man’s life. Old photos grace the cover and liner notes of the disc, following the man until his wedding night (featured on the cover). Though the story is rather vague, reflecting back on relationships and the idea of “home” are hot topics for lyrical content.
Although they are not actually an orchestra, Manchester Orchestra starts the album off with a multi-layered mix of instruments on “Wolves At Night.” The song’s high energy continues into “Now That You’re Home” until “The Neighborhood Is Bleeding,” where the album begins to take on a sort of nostalgic melancholy sound. Lead man Andy Hull grapples with issues of faith, death, and commitment through the middle part of the album. The haunting “Sleeper 1972″ maintains a simple style mixed with powerfully emotional lyrics. The protagonist of Virgin arrives at the climax with the realization that he can never return to his old lifestyle on “Golden Ticket.” The album picks up from there as Hull’s lyrics become more thoughtful and less emotional, ending with “Colly Strings,” the denouement of the story and a loud instrumental anthem.
Manchester Orchestra may have received a boost in fame from opening for the likes of Brand New, Kings of Leon, and mewithoutYou, but their album is the primary reason they’ve gained the attention they deserve. Musically it is a treat to hear musicians doing what they enjoy, while lyrically, the words sung are timeless. A person could easily listen to this album 10 or even 20 years from now and still find some sort of meaning.