The much revered Atlanta based Manchester Orchestra are back with a much awaited fifth studio album ‘A Black Mile To The Surface’. When the indie rock outfit, who formed in 2004 led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Andy Hull, released their debut album ‘I am Like A Virgin Loosing A Child’ 2006, the maturity of Manchester Orchestra's songwriting belied the fact that the band members were barely legal when their group sprung into existence.
Since their debut the band; made up of Andy Hull, Robert McDowell, Tim Very and Andy Price, have been fulfilling every rock basic with their own simplicity. The beauty lies in their naturalistic form, each song taking a unique shape, never succumbing to an album sound quota or a conventional production style. The tracks, while all clear products of the band, never sound too similar, each holding a very special individuality.
Though clearly calculated, nothing the band does feels forced. Unlike many of the same genre, Manchester Orchestra holds a true individualism and while evolving, never gives up the sound and cherished moments of contradicting sounds they’ve spent over 10 years cultivating. Manchester Orchestra have been and continue to be a gift to the rock genre, a completely unique face to a densely populated market. Their musicality is strong and, while always fresh, is never changing. They are reliable, and strong in message and motive. It’s what makes the band so incredibly special past the fact that their music is just ridiculously good: they know what works for them and are proud to present the same, so well loved concepts over and over again.
‘A Black Mile To The Surface’ sees the band push their dynamic sound to peak form, sounding cinematic and epic. Featuring production from Catherine Marks (Foals, PJ Harvey, The Killers), John Congleton (St. Vincent, Explosions In The Sky, Angel Olsen), and their longtime studio partner Dan Hannon. Propels their music into a new emotional arena, drawing on singer/guitarist Andy Hull and co-writer/multi-instrumentalist Robert McDowell’s unique experience scoring the 2016 Sundance hit film Swiss Army Man (directed by The Daniels)
“We’re a band that loves to use heavy, crunchy guitars,” says frontman Andy Hull. “We wondered how we could limit the use of that, so that when the guitars come in they can be creative and impactful. For ‘Swiss Army Man’ [a Sundance hit the boys worked on] we had to make seventy minutes of music with our hands tied behind our backs. When you’re creating all the sounds you need just from the human voice, it allows you to rethink what is possible, and determine what is really needed. We wanted to make an album in a ‘ non-Manchester’ way if there is such a thing.”