On April 1st, Manchester Orchestra released their fourth studio album Cope, which was 38 minutes of pure ass kicking rock. With blaring guitars, pounding drums, and the great voice of lead singer Andy Hull, the album a very enjoyable listen.
When the band announced they would be releasing Hope on September 16, an album made up of acoustic remixes of the tracks off of Cope, it wasn’t clear how well this idea would work.
When you have something that is both heavy, powerful and gets you fired up, what will happen when you strip it down? Will it still have the effect?
There is a belief that you can tell a song is truly a good one if it’s still as good when you strip it down to bits bare bones without all of the bells and whistles. Fortunately for the band, their experiment on Hope worked out for the most part.
Hull is one of the most talented musicians around, and with that talent he can make a song great just by his vocals. However, the rest of the band showed that they too are talented musicians by recreating the songs on Cope for Hope.
Hope didn’t pack the same punch Cope did, but it wasn’t supposed to. Many of the songs were equally as good when slowed down.
“Girl Harbor” was one of the best examples of a smooth transition from heavy to light. The song is just as powerful when stripped down with Hull blaring out “You waste so much time” over acoustic guitars and spacey sounds.
The transition also worked well with “Choose You,” “The Ocean,” and “The Mansion.”
One of the best parts of Cope was the song “Every Stone.” The last 55 seconds of the song is incredible with sounds of loud distorted guitar and Hull singing away in the background, makes for probably the best song on the album. Unfortunately when you take away such a strong ending it doesn’t have the same effect on the listener.
On Hope, “Every Stone” comes to a close with a trumpet and orchestral sound for the last minute. It’s beautiful and relaxing sounding, but it won’t pump you up or make you want to run through a wall which is what the original version did.
The song “Cope” which served as the ender to Cope, closed the album with a song that is the equivalent of a fistfight in a phone booth with its heaviness and dark undertones. The “Cope” found on Hope keeps that same dark and foreboding tone with just Hull singing and one guitar with a late 90s sound to it.
Both Cope and Hope were solid albums. Manchester Orchestra created two albums that fans will like one way or the other. If you’re a fan of the band’s heavier sound Cope is for you and if you like their lighter stuff, Hope is for you. Or if you’re a fan of the band no matter what sound, you’ll find something to like about both albums.