Imagine The Dear Hunter fronted by Conor Oberst, except Conor Oberst is a burly, bearded lumberjack with a southern twang, named Andy. Now you have Manchester Orchestra. The band started five years ago with singer Andy Hull, who spent his final year of high school being home-schooled because he felt alienated from his small Christian Georgia high school. While at home, he began writing and started to gather some of his friends to form Manchester Orchestra.
The band’s music often displays that feeling of alienation, in addition to angst, anger and confusion. The songs, especially on its latest album, 2009’s Mean Everything To Nothing, are frantic. They toggle between a sad calm, with Hull sounding like he is barely hanging on, to high gear rock thrash, with Hull howling angrily.
Mean Everything To Nothing is a two-part album. The first is dedicated to teen angst and the confusion of becoming an adult, while the second part is devoted to redemption and self-evaluation. Hull describes the album as having the feeling that things are not OK, I am not OK, and there’s a beauty in that &-&- a calming, a forgiveness. The tracks convey that feeling with their crunchy pedals and sweeping arena rock choruses.
The songs are also filled with Southern mannerisms and descriptions of Hull’s awkward relationship with God, and the familial guilt that comes from that, especially because Hull is the son of a preacher.
Manchester Orchestra doesn’t make happy music. Despite that, their live shows are filled with humor and energy. The soft-spoken Hull often cracks awkward jokes in his Georgian accent, and the band also has a song about its love for 50 Cent. Epic guitar riffs, screaming, God and 50 Cent. What more could you ask for?
You can catch Manchester Orchestra Tuesday night at The Paradise.Doors are at 8 p.m.