Review: Manchester Orchestra – Hope

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The latest instalment from Atlanta based Manchester Orchestra succeeds the band’s release of Cope, their fourth studio album, in April this year. The release, titled Hope, is a reimagining of Cope, which lays bare the intricate details (or, as frontman Andy Hull put it- “the beautiful, slow stuff”) behind the album that is perhaps a little brutal in comparison. In this reimagining we receive a beautiful new album, exposing elements that were hidden by the heavier nature of Cope.

The alternative rock band are currently on a UK tour which was kick-started at Portsmouth Pyramids, which left fans eagerly awaiting the digital release of Hope after announcing it on their Facebook page on 16th September. Checking every day after this announcement to find out when UK fans could get hold of the full album, it wasn’t until the 26th September that the band finally announced that it would be available for digital download…but not until the 29th! Along with Hope came news of a “stripped down” tour that, much to our dismay, will sadly only be performed in the United States.

It is quite rare that a band will release a new album that is essentially an extension of a previous release (alt-J’s ‘Bloodflood Part II’ on This Is All Yours has the same principle behind it but not quite on this scale), but Manchester Orchestra pull it off beautifully and with great reason. The redevelopment of Cope takes the album full circle, and listeners get a true feeling of the bare frameworks of the band’s talent.

To really appreciate the difference between Cope and Hope, it works quite well to listen to the tracks in pairs, going between the two albums. This isn’t to say that each album cannot be appreciated without the other, it simply allows for a more interesting look at the composition of both of them. The first instalment of Hope, along with ‘Girl Harbor,’ was ‘Top Notch,’ tantalisingly published on the group’s Soundcloud before the album’s digital release. From this track alone the beautiful rawness of Hope is made apparent.

The release of a stripped down album could seem to some a discredit to the first. If what makes Hope so wonderful is that it is Cope without the loudness, then what is the point of Cope’s loudness in the first place? What Manchester Orchestra have achieved, however, is to present what is underlying in Cope, whilst giving credit to the sheer talent that has gone into it.

With standout tracks such as ‘Girl Harbor’ and ‘Choose You,’ Hope achieves the same greatness at Cope without quite so much punchiness. Despite its obvious tie to the band’s previous release, I think that Hope can stand alone as an album in its own right, which is a great credit to Manchester Orchestra.

4 stars

 

Hope is available for digital download now.

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Third year English student, Records Editor, list maker and lover of Kinder Buenos.

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