Manchester Orchestra
Mean Everything to Nothing


4.5
superb

Review

by Knott- EMERITUS
April 17th, 2011 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I think I talk to you best when I sing.

Mean Everything To Nothing is one of those rare records which can be encapsulated through the quoting of any one of a handful of its most potent lyrical triumphs, each of them effortlessly meaningful and passionate to the point that it surrounds and captures the essence of the record in a heartbeat. What did you mean when you said, "It's destructive," and you sank yourself right into me" Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull is an uncertain but undeniably spirited character, finding silver linings on the most foreboding of clouds, and really, Mean Everything To Nothing loses itself in the storm, windswept and dramatic from the very first bar.

That dizzying effect doesn't come from an overload of coinciding musical ideas, but from the breathtaking execution of the intense and gritty rock texture that only previously and tentatively bared its teeth on tracks like 'Wolves At Night'. Mean Everything To Nothing is a more poised affair, the work of a band comfortable that the tempo they find on each track is the right one for saying what they need to say, from the poignant and tender 'I Can Feel A Hot One' through to the frenetic opener 'The Only One' and even on the downbeat and positively menacing 'You, My Pride & Me'. The sound is one of confidence in Hull and his ability to enthrall, and the faith is entirely justified.

Never has a man sounded at once so in control of his emotions and so utterly derailed as Hull appears on Mean Everything To Nothing. He approaches themes of terrifying magnitude with the most fragile of conversations, asserting on 'My Friend Marcus' that "it's funny how many don't know, how many of us don't have homes," and if you would expect the weight of such a soundbite to overshadow the aesthetic of those around it, think again: every track here is filled with that same dark and searching exploration of a scared but vital human psyche, not least the album's centrepiece and (amazingly) standout track 'I Can Feel A Hot One', which crushes more with every passing line.

But that, in a nutshell, is Mean Everything To Nothing. Each moment of momentous and frankly epic brilliance stacks on top of the last until closer 'The River' builds from uncertainty to desperation in a tour-de-force of the record's - not to mention band's - defining qualities: the cutting guitars, the piercing atmosphere, the unnerving introspection. It all comes together to form a strained and violent whole which kicks out at its tormentors at the same time as holding its loved ones very, very close indeed. In the end, though, what makes it so utterly superb is how human it all is; the way that Andy Hull and the rest of Manchester Orchestra swing wildly between disquiet and conviction is at every juncture both awe-inspiring and strangely intimate, and that's how records like this can mean everything.



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user ratings (1497)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
April 17th 2011


10212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I 5'd this when I was drunk a while back but I think their new one will top it.



Still, it took me a long time to get around to writing this. Album is too good.

Curse.
April 17th 2011


8057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Mean Everything To Knotting

mallen-
April 17th 2011


1241 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nailed it, except for the rating of course. Sadly I've been so hyped up on the new album that I will be disappointed if it isn't at least just as good as this.

Skimaskcheck
April 17th 2011


2364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I Can Feel A Knott One

Tyrael
April 17th 2011


21113 Comments


Brilliant, just brilliant...

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2011


7502 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mean Everything To Knotting



LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL



Solid review Adam; quintessential Knott I would say (pos). The only real criticism I would make is that the opening sentence is a.) too long and b.) sports too many adjectives. The effectiveness of the adjective is at its highest when it and its siblings are spaced.

AliW1993
April 17th 2011


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, amazing album, one of my favourites of the last decade. Can't wait for Simple Math, really hope it doesn't disappoint.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 17th 2011


7045 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic write-up there Knott.

Love this record, very very stoked for Simple Math

STOP SHOUTING!
April 17th 2011


777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lovely album, looking forward to the new one.



lovely review, nothing wrong with that first sentence imo.

mvood
April 17th 2011


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't decide if this is better than Virgin, either way I'd die happily if Simple Math is as good or better.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 17th 2011


7045 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I can't decide if this is better than Virgin, either way I'd die happily if Simple Math is as good or better."



I kinda sorta completely agree with both of those statements.

Alxander18
April 17th 2011


278 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album is better than Virgin; its more consistent and has more highlights. And I firmly believe Simple Math will top this.

Knot, this review is amazing, and I absolutely love the closing paragraph. Pos'd.

Aids
April 17th 2011


24456 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

review is all sorts of amazing. tbh I'm surprised to see you don't have this at a 5. I agree though, I think their new one will top this. Excited!

Eko
April 17th 2011


2118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I heard I've Got Friends for the first time yesterday and it was awesome. will probably get this soon, pos'd.

Aids
April 17th 2011


24456 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this review helped me decide to listen to this today while mowing lawns. so so so good.

amanwithahammer
April 17th 2011


585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You are right about everything!

mothercountry
April 17th 2011


447 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review knott. It did leave me wanting a little bit more, a tad short?

Phideaux
April 18th 2011


1662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've Knott Friends

Knott-
Emeritus
April 18th 2011


10212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, it's pretty short, but when I write about albums that aren't current they tend to be. It's usually more of a summary than an explanation when the album has been out for so long. Cheers guys.

Phideaux
April 18th 2011


1662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So, I still haven't heard this



Guess I better get on it.



Oh, good review, btw.



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