Andy Hull
Who Is Your Humble? (Demos: 2006​-​2007)


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
March 21st, 2020 | 19 replies


Release Date: 03/20/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Isolation music.

Some men need inspiration, and others just need to be scared
'Cause we're going to make it out of here and go somewhere

These are unprecedented times. Entire nations are closing their borders in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The shelves of nearly every grocery store have been picked clean by doomsday hoarders, as other families struggle to acquire basic needs. Businesses are shutting down and causing breadwinners to lose their income. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. In some countries, the government is deploying troops to enforce a shelter-in-place. I hate to sound overdramatic, but it feels an awful lot like the end of the world as we know it. At a time when virtually everything has been cancelled, we can take solace in the gift of music to see us through. Now more than ever, we need it.

It’s in this spirit that Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull has bestowed ten demos from the era of I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, one day after tweeting “oh man I’m putting something fun together for ya’ll” – as if he just woke up and decided that we all needed an extra boost to help us push through these times. The compilation stands in stark contrast to the chaos of what’s happening outside our windows – it’s as hushed as any Elliott Smith record, thriving on delicate acoustic plucks, lush melodies, and intimate atmospheres. Once you are drawn into Hull’s lyrical charm – and you will be – it is easy to lose sight of the fact that these are demos. The songs breeze by your ears at a transient thirty-eight minutes, persistent in their sorrow and their wistful, rearview mirror gazing. It’s isolation music – a series of songs written fourteen years ago that have never felt more purposeful. Perhaps that’s why he chose to open the vault now.

Who Is Your Humble? (Demos: 2006-2007) is a gorgeous listen that feels right at home alongside Manchester Orchestra’s I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child – almost like its acoustic sibling. The emotional impact is tucked away in Hull’s confessional lyrics, such as when he sings “I write a letter to Kathy every day / I tell her I lover her, and tell her I pray/ She better know that I'm lying…” on the compilation’s title track. The stripped down, lo-fi canvas affords Hull’s voice all kinds of freedom that we don’t necessarily enjoy on his more polished productions – such as the way his voice slows to a whisper on ‘Wolves at Night Part 2’ and then cracks right before he launches into the song’s emotional peak: a refrain of “What is the gospel according to man? Well, it’s nothing.” Considering how minimal this demo compilation is, the sonic diversity from track to track is remarkable – ranging from raw and impassioned (‘Who Is Your Humble?’, ‘Wolves at Night Part 2’) to pristine, pastoral folk (‘Unholy Bathrooms’, ‘Are You The Light?’) that is merely a studio touch-up away from fitting right in on Bad Books’ 2019 stunner III. It’s tempting to imagine how breathtaking some of these moments might have been after some fleshing out, but for demos they’re still way better than anyone could have expected.

The best musicians are the ones who stay connected with the world around them and find ways to improve it through their art. Andy Hull is one of those people, and while Who Is Your Humble? (Demos: 2006-2007) isn’t hands-down the best thing he’s ever released across his many projects, it’s certainly an essential addition to any Manchester Orchestra diehard’s collection that feels very in-tune with the current state of affairs despite being more than a decade outdated. With any luck we’ll eventually see his Simple Math b-sides (the fabled Sinful Math), but these demos take us back to the raw, heartbreaking sincerity of Manchester Orchestra’s roots in a time where many of us – sheltering in place as the Coronavirus rages across the globe – have been forced to return to life’s simplest pleasures. Spending time with family. Walking through your local park. Reading a book. Listening to music. Singing, laughing…hoping. These are things that not even a global pandemic can erase, and in that way, these bare, beautiful, and scratchy demos embody the spirit of mankind - scrappy, bleeding, but resilient. It’s just as Hull sings on the opening track: “We’re gonna make it out of here, and go somewhere.”




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user ratings (12)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
March 21st 2020


35687 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You can stream the entire demo album via the bandcamp embed above (just hit the arrows to skip, although you wouldn't dare).

Digging: Movements - No Good Left To Give

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 21st 2020


10299 Comments


Like A Virgin is my fave release of theirs I am lOSING MY SHIT

Digging: sprain - As Lost Through Collision

Nbehre11
March 21st 2020


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love it Sowing; keep the social isolation reviews coming!

Digging: Bright Eyes - Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2020


28577 Comments


Nice!! Gave Like A Virgin... a couple of listens a week or so again and q liked it; super busy for the next couple of weeks but hopefully gonna find time to check this soon

Digging: ZOMBIE-CHANG - TAKE ME AWAY FROM TOKYO

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2020


44016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"I need 1000 dollars, can I borrow it?"



I fucking love Andy the cheeky bastard lmao

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2020


44016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I always forget how goddamn upsetting When we Were Trees is till I listen to it. like wow he might have left that off the album just because it's almost too sad to listen to. that and "How I Waited" I always have trouble finishing honestly

Gyromania
March 21st 2020


30581 Comments


Oh sick ads are back on sputnik mobile again

furpa
March 21st 2020


552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Rowan oh man How I Waited is straight-up top tier Hull and I'll fight anyone who disagrees lol. Song is incredible and super heart wrenching.

furpa
March 21st 2020


552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This collection is lovely also

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2020


44016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

oh don't get me wrong it's one of his best ever. just have a tough time listening to it through- it's somehow like I Can Feel Your Pain's even sadder cousin. I mean this verse alone



"Your dad swore you would be fine but god, he lies

Your mom said stop calling nights, Andy, at least sometimes

Your grave never looked this good in the daylight

I'm tired of wasting time on a body that has no life

On rhythm that has no rhyme, tonight"



fuuuuucking hell dude

Feather
March 22nd 2020


6067 Comments


I like this :-)

furpa
March 22nd 2020


552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah didn't mean to insinuate you thought otherwise haha I meant to agree with you.

Yeah those lyrics are something else man... only verses that potentially hit me harder are those of Apprehension or the closing stanzas of The Silence. Oof.

spanndrew58
March 23rd 2020


145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hull being Hull, which is enough for me to consider this “excellent”. You can hear a lot of moments that became MO songs later on.

dbizzles
March 23rd 2020


14315 Comments


Badges and Badges is so good. I haven't heard it in years.

dbizzles
March 23rd 2020


14315 Comments


I have a tiny Hull demo/live/b-side playlist on my iPod, which is somewhere around here. Was expecting a couple of those to be on here, but maybe the titles are different or something. I will be checking this very shortly.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2020


44016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

https://mobile.twitter.com/okayfineAndy/status/1245032201005273089



oh fuck yes. he's just gonna go era by era, we're golden

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 1st 2020


35687 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh hell yes

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2020


44016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

second one's out, gonna peep. no Rejoice though

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2020


44016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

lmao the first song is fucking incredible, like one of his best already, how are this dude's offcut demos better than what most bands do regularly



also we got I Remember That... which has been bootlegged for more than a decade, I'm satisfied



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