Manchester Orchestra Mean Everything to Nothing 

Spend enough time on the road and it will change you. For Manchester Orchestra's creative bulwark Andy Hull, it forged a sinewy bite that displaces some of the epic grandeur of the band's full-length debut. While still rife with melody and outsized ambition, the group no longer feels compelled to ascend to the footlights, proving content to slug it out with the rabble on the floor. Arrangements writhe and wriggle with tense energy, then open in full melodic bloom like the initially terse "Tony the Tiger," or reach for the jugular from the jump as on the hungry, churning "Shake It Out" and the Nirvana-esque rocker "In My Teeth." Echoes of earlier releases remain in the mournful, dreamy lope of "I Can Feel a Hot One" and the undulating slow burn of "The River" — a swelling six-minute ode to displacement and dissolution. Hull's continuing ability to add new wrinkles bodes well for his already skin-tight band, as the baby fat slowly dissipates. 4 out of 5 stars


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