Manchester Orchestra - Cope
Not to be confused with the possible existence of a collection of classical musicians from the home of United, City and Oasis, the heavy rock of Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra is as far away from Bach or Nigel Kennedy as you’re going to get. Having scaled the heights of 107 in the UK album charts with 2011’s Simple Math and departing company with their founding bassist in early 2013, the quintet are back with Cope. And it is a notable improvement on that last effort.
Two things drive Cope: the guitars and Andy Hull’s shifting vocals. Crashing in with ‘Top Notch’ they set the bar high, for both noise levels and song quality. Unashamedly heavy though the eleven tracks are, they’re laced through with impressive variety; Hull’s vocals carry the up-tempo ‘Girl Harbour’, ‘Choose You’ and ‘Every Stone’, while ‘The Ocean’ is surprisingly melodic. There’s even a bit of calm on ‘Indentions’ before the title track ends it all in an echo of big Black Sabbath riffs and guitar feedback. On their fourth LP this is a band that have found their sound, are comfortable in their skin, and improving rapidly. With not a violin or brass section in sight, they still make a mighty impressive noise indeed.