“I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child”
Manchester Orchestra has ripped pages from journal
entries, literature and screenplays to create a masterful album that is ripe
with angst and hope both lyrically and musically.
The band, who filled a slot on
last summer’s Lollapalooza festival and will embark on a nationwide tour with a
resurfaced Brand New, has produced an album beyond their years- with the
members’ ages ranging from 17 to 20 years old. Manchester Orchestra may have
taken notes from bands like Brand New; however, the band’s project, “I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child,” is awarded the prize Brand
New would’ve coveted at this musical stage in their career.
The Atlanta- based five-piece comprised of front man Andy
Hull, Chris Freeman on keys, guitarist Robert McDowell, bassist J Corley and
drummer Jeremiah Edmond’s efforts bleed together to construct a solid effort
that is compelling, visionary and coming-of-age.
Hull’s lyrical prowess combined with his vocal dexterity
allow for his words to flawlessly fall from his mouth onto the foundation built
by Corley and Edmonds and accentuated by the embellishments Freeman and
McDowell add to the exterior.
The album takes off with “Wolves At
Night” and transitions from Hull’s anxiety to a sugary sweet moment of relief
as he admits “I’ll try something, try nothing, try anything.”
The album shifts fluidly between songs consisting of
larger-than-life rock orchestration like on “Now that You’re Home” to
confessional moments that exhibit just what Hull is capable of vocally such as
“I Can Feel Your Pain.”
“Where Have You Been?” is the
moment on the record that changes everything. The band instinctively places the
instrumental puzzle pieces in a manner that fits almost too well. Freeman’s
keys haunt the song as the guitar pushes through the epic moments Edmonds
creates as Hull delivers his anthem as declares, “I can hardly see what’s in
front of me these days and those days too.”
Songs like “I Can Barely Breathe” and “Golden Ticket”
highlight the band’s musical capabilities as they effortlessly evolve from
sparkling guitar work that become muddied as Hull’s lyrical expiation guides
“I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child” is an impressive work
from, what may seem like, a fledgling band. However, their live shows alone
have enough inertia behind them to propel them to a status beyond what similar
bands have achieved.
Hull sums the
album as he wails “we can’t believe without bleeding” on the last track “Colly
Strings.” And “I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child” has
Manchester Orchestra’s blood, sweat and tears in the musical framework they
have built creating a telling album able to encapsulate the emotions of
crossing the threshhold of adulthood in a way that even Holden Caulfield would
be able to relate to.
— Jess Peregoy, managing editor