Manchester Orchestra – ‘Mean Everything To Nothing’- Album Review

By the turn of the Nineties, the American Dream had finally burst. The music that had begun to filter from the decadent subsections of Seattle’s underground became a corporate-funded smear campaign to America’s ever-simpering image. Grunge manifested the most overwrought of teenage emotions in the most apathetic of anti-pop pin-ups, and if money was to be made in its antisocial misery and awkwardness, the mainstream was soon to be infected and given something to invest in.

And now, Twenty years on since the release of Nirvana’s viral debut album ‘Bleach’ (a fuzz infatuated, sombre affair, that left anyone whom might have still been rabid with the idealism that American life was as resplendent as an episode of Baywatch, rather pallid to this new sonic youth), Manchester Orchestra step up to the plate to narrate and fill another generation’s adolescent void of being with ‘Mean Everything To Nothing’. Arguably, emo tried to fill the market in place of grunge in its attempt at to journalise the most suppressed of teen emotions over the airwaves, but instead suffered its own death due to its vacuous detail and asymmetric haircuts; however, Manchester Orchestra are something to get hung up on, and after the release of their precocious debut ‘I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child’, the Atlanta-based quintet became quite the muse for many a maudlin teen throughout the states.

“I am the only one that I’m think is going crazy” lead singer Andy Hull whimpers at the start of ‘The Only One’, providing a bulwark of stadium anthem narrative to the clattering drums, slide guitar and whirling organ that presides over the opening track. ‘Shake It Out’ bolsters the opening half of the album with a symphonic blitz of jaded guitar and screamathon that broods over the chorus and ethereal breakdowns, whereas ‘I’ve Got Friends’ sweeps with a fuzzy detail as a nod to My Morning Jacket.

‘Mean Everything To Nothing’ is maelstrom of emotions, reinforced by a pop-foolery that harks back to primal, pounding assault of Weezer’s ‘Pinkerton’ and Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’ that makes it so appealing to the dysfunctional masses that it satirises. The album does take a dip in pace halfway through from its rambunctious opening to a slower burning chorale of torrential emotions with ‘Pride’, an ode to death metal riffs that leaves you nodding slowly to its heavy hooks akin to the likes of Pearl Jam; the gripping ‘I Can Feel A Hot One’; and the ruminative ‘The River’, leaving ‘Mean Everything…’ to be a stalwart to its genre and teen cathartics, or simply your best kept secret next to your Panic! At The Disco records that you so adamantly deny owning.

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