Manchester Orchestra Offers Download Of First Single, “Simple Math,” From Upcoming Album
By Paul Feig
On April 1st, 2009, Andy Hull started to put his life back together. Manchester Orchestra’s new album, Simple Math (due out May 10), is about that experience. “It’s the reaction to my marital, physical, and mental failures. But for the first time, I’m not blaming anyone but myself,” Hull says.
Produced fat, tactile and beautiful by Dan Hannon, Simple Math is Hannon’s third full-length LP with the band, starting with the debut album I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child and then the follow-up Mean Everything To Nothing. Recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville and mixed by Joe Chiccarelli, the band kept the same studio set-up and production team intact from their second to third records.
Simple Math is a concept album. As Roy Shuker defines in his book Popular Music: The Key Concepts, a concept album is a record “unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical.” Simple Math is indeed unified by all of these. The instrumentation is big, even in its smallest moments. The composition is emotional and complex, expertly weaving music with story. The narrative is a trip through a man’s brain, through his mistakes, regrets and realizations. And the lyrics, which take us firsthand through this life-changing experience, are poetic and raw, honest and passionate.
Listen to the track “Simple Math”:
But Manchester Orchestra has always been about truth; about passion. It’s why Alternative Press gave MO’s 2009 acclaimed Mean Everything to Nothing (which yielded the Top 10 Modern Rock hit “I’ve Got Friends”) a five-star lead review that called the album “a masterpiece of intricacy and honesty.” You can feel their passion in the power of Hull’s voice and the fury of the band’s music in every track they’ve ever laid down, a power that wraps itself around you and demands your attention as Hull’s lyrics guide you through the world as he sees it. “I’ve always had a clear perception of right and wrong around me,” says Hull, “I’ve constantly questioned my beliefs, trying to find the truth.”
The son and grandson of southern ministers, Hull formed Manchester Orchestra in 2004 at the age of 17 with his lifelong friends (Jonathan Corley on bass, keyboardist Chris Freeman, guitarist Robert McDowell and drummer Tim Very) and used their music as a way to explore the issues that mattered most to him, issues of life, emotional vulnerability and the human condition. “I’ve always believed in God, but modernized Christianity can scare me. I’m a spiritual, but not a religious, person. And I like to use my music to explore how that faith stretches and challenges me to be a better man.”
For a free download of the track, “Simple Math,” click here.