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Manchester Orchestra - I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child

Teenage obsessions with death are more than commonplace, theyre somewhat obligatory, but like Winona Ryder in Heathers with the immortal line My teen angst bullshit has a body count, Manchester Orchestras frightfully young frontman Andy Hull has taken the angst, the hormonal pain, the obsession and morbidity and turned it into something tangible, something real.

In Hulls case, rather than it all resulting in an abortive high school massacre, its resulted in a debut album that can justifiably be termed a masterpiece.

Nothing since Red House Painters debut Down Colorful Hill has taken the twin themes of love and death to such cinematic extremes. Religious imagery, sickness, loss and pain flood this album to a point where it sounds like the band performing it are actually choking on their own creation.

We open with the Placebo-drive of Wolves at Night, but while its shuttling rock is that of many of their emo contemporaries, there are already signs in Hulls wording that we are heading into deep, dark waters: Cause I confide in wolves at night / Im like a virgin losing a child, so lonely yelps the chorus.

Now That Youre Home is also a tiny act of deception with waves of Arcade Fire guitar booming across a tale of homecomings and tenuous love that nearly breaks with desperation.

The albums heart is at its centre, and its a dark one.

The Neighborhood is Bleeding imagines apocalypse and painful survival through a cinemascope lens, while I Can Feel Your Pain is a terrifyingly honest account of fatal ilness and its effect on those left behind, vocal whispered directly into your ear, a diary confessional that borders on the uncomfortable.

Where Have You Been? is another delicate, sparse hymn to the absence of God in a needy life. Again, its the kind of song that strikes a chord almost too personal, too painful to bear.

The latter part of the record switches between wall-of-sound rock and intricate, intense, intentful balladry in the most convincing way, but never really releases its tense grip until finally – it all explodes and releases on the album closer Colly Strings, climaxing in the impassioned scream besides, you cant believe without fear as military drums shudder over squalling guitar and tornado basslines.

Its a record that delves unflinchingly into the bleakest, most secret fears of the human psyche and delivers them unfettered by judgement or politic as an album that plays like the finest Bergman movie; inspired, pained and beautiful.James OConnell

Released 1 Jan 1970 // // Rating:

*****

/5
Manchester Orchestra - I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child

Teenage obsessions with death are more than commonplace, theyre somewhat obligatory, but like Winona Ryder in Heathers with the immortal line My teen angst bullshit has a body count, Manchester Orchestras frightfully young frontman Andy Hull has taken the angst, the hormonal pain, the obsession and morbidity and turned it into something tangible, something real.

In Hulls case, rather than it all resulting in an abortive high school massacre, its resulted in a debut album that can justifiably be termed a masterpiece.

Nothing since Red House Painters debut Down Colorful Hill has taken the twin themes of love and death to such cinematic extremes. Religious imagery, sickness, loss and pain flood this album to a point where it sounds like the band performing it are actually choking on their own creation.

We open with the Placebo-drive of Wolves at Night, but while its shuttling rock is that of many of their emo contemporaries, there are already signs in Hulls wording that we are heading into deep, dark waters: Cause I confide in wolves at night / Im like a virgin losing a child, so lonely yelps the chorus.

Now That Youre Home is also a tiny act of deception with waves of Arcade Fire guitar booming across a tale of homecomings and tenuous love that nearly breaks with desperation.

The albums heart is at its centre, and its a dark one.

The Neighborhood is Bleeding imagines apocalypse and painful survival through a cinemascope lens, while I Can Feel Your Pain is a terrifyingly honest account of fatal ilness and its effect on those left behind, vocal whispered directly into your ear, a diary confessional that borders on the uncomfortable.

Where Have You Been? is another delicate, sparse hymn to the absence of God in a needy life. Again, its the kind of song that strikes a chord almost too personal, too painful to bear.

The latter part of the record switches between wall-of-sound rock and intricate, intense, intentful balladry in the most convincing way, but never really releases its tense grip until finally – it all explodes and releases on the album closer Colly Strings, climaxing in the impassioned scream besides, you cant believe without fear as military drums shudder over squalling guitar and tornado basslines.

Its a record that delves unflinchingly into the bleakest, most secret fears of the human psyche and delivers them unfettered by judgement or politic as an album that plays like the finest Bergman movie; inspired, pained and beautiful.James OConnell