Manchester Orchestra
Hope


3.0
good

Review

by Project USER (27 Reviews)
September 27th, 2014 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I know your faults. I know the way you write them off.

Whenever Cope is discussed -- which is not that often anymore, aside from the context of Hope's release -- the discussion inevitably arrives at a few particular points. "No ballads." "It's so much more of a rock album." "Every song sounds exactly the same." To an extent, all these points are correct, but they miss the reason that Cope briefly captured our curiosity and then our frustration.

It was a new leaf for Manchester Orchestra, sure, but it didn't have any soul.

Few albums have ever so clearly defined "going through the motions" as well as Cope, save maybe three songs. There was none of the raw vulnerability and passion of past releases. Half the time, the lyrics bordered on nonsensicality. Songs were rigidly structured and had no room to breathe. And yet somehow Andy Hull and Co. think they can fix these deep-seated issues just by unplugging the guitars, throwing in some strings and cleverly renaming-but-not-renaming their most divisive album.

But do I ever want to believe them about halfway through "Girl Harbor"! A solid but forgettable alt-rock song is transformed into a gorgeous ballad with a bridge overflowing with passion. "The Mansion" benefits similarly from its rearrangement, with tender horns and gentle bass making the repetitive choruses soar. And "Every Stone," one of Cope's highlights, is even more powerful with the noise stripped away, with the violin-led outro wringing out every last bit of emotion.

And yet throughout the rest of the album, it seems as though the band's symptoms have evolved, but the disease is the same. Where Cope was noisy and raucous (for Manchester Orchestra, anyway) but insubstantial, Hope is delicate and pretty...but still insubstantial. Too many songs still pass by far too quickly, failing to build any meaningful atmosphere. And the few songs that thrived on energy like "Top Notch" feel toothless this time around. Sure, "See It Again" has some pretty harmonies -- but it's got almost nothing else, and too many other songs can be described the same way.

It's not that Manchester Orchestra is incapable of writing an energetic alternative rock album or a beautiful acoustic work. It's just inherently awkward to re-skin an entire album, forgetting what little heart it had while piecing together a new one. All the pieces do fit together a few times, and the results are stunning-- but of course, "stunning" is what we expected from Manchester from the beginning. I credit the band for their willingness to tinker, but I can't help but think Hope is a great acoustic EP that ran about five songs too long.




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user ratings (114)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Rowan5215 STAFF (4)
Manchester Orchestra prove that there is in fact a way to fix it....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Project
September 27th 2014


4321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Alternate ending: "...Hope is a collection of acoustic bonus tracks that went on five songs too long and didn't include "After the Scripture" for no good reason."

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2014


43923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

great review and some points I agree with, Girl Harbor is magnificent

amanwithahammer
September 27th 2014


585 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Very nice take on it, even though I enjoyed Cope I can basically agree with you on these being two albums lacking the substance of previous releases

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 27th 2014


35316 Comments


Nice review.

Am I the only one who thinks it would be funny if they made a third album called "Nope"?

Digging: Westelaken - Westelaken

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2014


43923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

It could be dubstep remixes of every song!

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 27th 2014


35316 Comments


Or failed versions/outtakes

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2014


43923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

I'm crying over here

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2014


43923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

"how gnarly the slopes were."

"how gnarly the slopes were."

"how gnarly the slopes were."

"how gnarly the slopes were."



Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2014


43923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

ITS THE FUCKING WEEKEND GIVE ME A BREAK

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2014


43923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

You're telling ME about jamming METN? that's rich, Mr. 2.5

psandy
September 27th 2014


280 Comments


Simple Math ftw

Project
September 28th 2014


4321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What about the stoner rock compilation Dope ?



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