Review Summary: A must-have for any fan of the band but perhaps that's as far as it goes.
'Nobody Sings Anymore' was an album that was set to be released in 2005 by Manchester Orchestra, who have since then done a great job of building their fanbase with the albums 'I'm Like A Virgin Losing a Child' in 2006 and more recently 'Everything To Nothing' in 2009. This album was never released because of their decision to change direction with their music, (which soon lead to 'I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child') and a line-up change. Several of the songs from this album were still used on their EP 'You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, but Brilliance Needs a Good Editor' but for the most part, this album never really saw the light of day aside for being performed at shows.
After a few listens it becomes apparent that this album wouldn't really sit that far out of place in a Manchester Orchestra discography. It isn't all that different. It has what you would expect from them, such as their light guitar hooks which occasionally burst forward and really stand out along with Andy Hull's softly sung lines combined with his frequent surges of vocal energy where he pushes his voice above it all and leaves it ringing through even after his note has finished. And of course, the lyrics are laden with religious references. It does however sound different in the aspect that the band have grown and matured musically looking at their later stuff. It could have had a major effect on their career if it had been officially released and that effect may not have been a good one, but it is still a good listen, especially if you're a fan of the band. If they had released this, it would have been their debut album, which could have set their career out quite differently and of course it could be said that this LP isn't as strong as 'I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child'. Could this have had a major effect on Manchester Orchestra's popularity in the then-future? It's quite possible.
Although stepping away from comparing 'Nobody Sings Anymore' to their recent releases and looking at it from a standalone point of view, it's not amazing, but it's not bad either. There are a few tracks that stand out and there are some that don't, but for a would-be debut album, it's not terrible. It of course has a demo-like version of 'Golden Ticket' (Which was re-done for 'I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child'). The standout songs seem to be 'The Procession', 'I'd Rather Have' and 'Girl With Broken Wings' (Despite it arguably being too slow for the most part). The first one is quite different, with the use of a drum machine and a quite a few melodic synths before going into a powerful second-half. 'I'd Rather Have' varies between being a rather dark song to being quite upbeat and melodic. It has a few witty lines such as "I would rather have a broken arm than have my arm around you" and a few variables of that line scattered throughout. The last, 'The Girl With Broken Wings' is a slow and dark song about a girl which a lot of people may be able to relate to, to know a girl like the one portrayed in the song. A girl who's a complete trainwreck and who sucks others into her spiralling life just to make herself feel less alone.
A good factor of this album is that it can be upbeat and seemingly happy whilst maintaing a few dark undertones which make their presence known quite prominent from time to time. A good character for an album to have, considering it can give it more of a lasting appeal and more variety. It's quite a catchy listen throughout aswell, but not in the usual Manchester Orchestra way. This has more of a poppy-catchy feel to it. Andy Hull's vocals are quite a treat here aswell. Not for a minute does he stop sounding sincere and it's easy to believe every word he sings. He also sounds much younger than he did on 'I'm Like A Virging Losing A Child' despite it being recorded only a year or so before then. The instruments are pretty average, but the overall musical creativity is quite outstanding for a first time try.
Overall, this album is quite the must-have for the die-hard fan of Manchester Orchestra. It's interesting to see where they came from, and how they got to the stage of releasing such established albums as they have been. Other than that, it might not be such a great listen. So if you're a Manchester Orchestra fan who hasn't heard this yet, I strongly recommend you find 'Nobody Sings Anymore' and listen to it. If you're not, then you may find you like this, but I doubt it.
It's Manchester Orchestra
Catchy for the most part
Andy Hull's vocals
Not much appeal if you weren't already a fan
Can be boring at times
Overall Rating: 3.5/5