I don’t know about you but I find it easy to cheer for Manchester Orchestra. You want these guys to get bigger than they are. You want them to fill the stadiums they seem to be writing songs for. And it’s not that they’re not trying… take 2011’s “Simple Math” that saw the band take their full-on rock tunes to a pimped out high with bombastic string arrangements. On “Cope”, they ditched the strings and dive headfirst into straight up rock songs again.
Opener “Torch Song” comes with walloping drums, loud buzzing guitars and a big chorus that sees vocalist Andy Hull giving it his all. And it works. But then the next song is just like it with loud buzzing guitars throughout the whole thing. And then the next song is like the previous one as well with the pounding drums. And they just keep going on from there… it always sounds like something I would like but the songs just don’t stick because it’s just a loud mess of everyone trying to top one another.
Sure, it works well one song at a time… “The Ocean” is fun and the vocal harmonies these guys pull off in songs like “Every Stone” sound great, but as a whole “Cope” is simply too much. It’s like these guys were trying to bury whatever they thought the songs were lacking under a bigass wall of sound. But then that wall of sound became exactly what is wrong with the album.