Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math album review

Manchester Orchestra releases their best, “Simple Math”

A childhood friend of mine introduced Atlanta-based indie rock band Manchester Orchestra to me way back when I was listening to bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Pavement and into all kinds of sad rock music.  Their latest release Simple Math is a concept album, a coming of age tale questioning life – focusing on sex, marriage, love, and religion. It expresses the band’s maturity and fits the indie-rock genre perfectly as they move towards a more mainstream feel that hopefully will give them the recognition that they deserve.

Vocalist and lyricist Andy Hull stimulates our thoughts, provoking emotions – and finally, here is something that is synth-free!

Each track is raw to the bone and heavily arranged with guitars, drums and strings. The rock n’ roll attitude is still there, just now a lot more visceral. Each song is filled with personal notes using play on words, the songwriting wonderfully crafted. The opening track “Deer” is a soothing number listeners will fall in love with, like a touching open letter:  I sit home and drink alone/And hope that bottle speaks /Like you, like us, like me. The second track “Mighty” will shake live audiences with it’s loud beats and epic lines, It’s not like I was lost for a purpose/I lost purpose and purposefully froze. In contrast to being mighty is the feeling of being isolated and exhausted – something we hear on another standout track, “Pensacola”. After being frustrated with being on the road for so long, “Yeah, we’re tired, so lets just get drunk and try to forget all the good stuff we’re missing back home” – not something many artists are so honest about. “Virgin” has an incredibly haunting children’s choir sound and the final confession “Leaky Brakes” takes us on an exploration of something almost broken. It is the perfect ending to an album that is utterly beautiful.

Overall this album has great potential to be considered a “classic”, as Manchester Orchestra know how to develop their own sound, layer by layer, while paying tributes to great artists. Tracks are unique and possess different meanings from the next. Listen to it over and over again and you will see that Hull has created something special, honest and so painfully relatable. This is the Born This Way album for alternative music listeners.  For all the people going through a Quarter Life Crisis, this one’s for you.

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