Mean Everything To Nothing Review

artist: Manchester Orchestra date: 12/08/2009 category: compact discs
Manchester Orchestra: Mean Everything To Nothing
Released: Apr 21, 2009 (U.S) / Apr 27, 2009 (U.K)
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Favorite Gentlemen / Canvasback
Number Of Tracks: 12
Mean Everything To Nothing is a marriage between Smashing Pumpkins turgid tirades and the air-brushed cinders of Death Cab For Cutie.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 7
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reviews (2) 4 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7
Mean Everything To Nothing Reviewed by: sweetpeasuzie, on april 21, 2009
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Somewhere between the crass textures of garage-band rock and post-grunge and the fluid lines of modern synth-pop lies Manchester Orchestra whose second full-length album, Mean Everything To Nothing is a marriage between Smashing Pumpkins' turgid tirades and the air-brushed cinders of Death Cab For Cutie. The band's assets include the coarse timbres of lead vocalist Andy Hull, the sleek melodic clasps of keyboardist Chris Freema and the billowing swells of guitarist Robert McDowell as the band's rhythm section of bassist Jonathan Corley and drummer Jeremiah Edmon brand the melodies with heated stomps. Pride is the apex of the album's post-grunge ruggedness as Hull's vocals rip and tear through the guitar shreds like a wild boar, and then lightens up in the folksy pop atriums of I Can Feel A Hot One. The grizzly coarse textures of Hull's vocals grill into the broiling chord progressions of Shake It Out like a hot poker, and then glides with a velvety touch along the voluminous chorus peaks and gentle troughs of My Friend Marcus with a clicking metronome liken to Elbow moving in the undertow. The ribbons of synth-pop strips and vibrating guitar clips wrapping around the title track climax and flutter lightly creating dynamics in the track's melodic wingspan before segueing into the fibrillating trembles and roving cymbal crashes that tumble in and out of the arcades along The River, and then closing out with the soft folksy acoustics sliding across Jimmy Whispers. // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics can be thoughtful like in Jimmy Whispers as Hull reflects, Fear keeps you hiding at night We're brothers and that's alright or the words can be provocative like in Shake It Out when Hull confesses, A bigger mess that you can't fix. And sometimes the verses express a need to find redemption for one's sins like in The River where Hull cries out, Take me to the river and make me clean again / Oh my God. The lyrics confront scars and the experiences that cause them, and holds the marks in reverence like they are badges of courage. There is no shame in confronting pain or reason to hide the hurt, only acceptance can be found in Hull's words. // 7

Overall Impression: The music is effective in making the listener see through the disguises that people put on to hide from painful experiences. The songs run the gamut from tender croons to scorching rants, sometimes even performed in the same song. It is an album that shows it's heart on the surface. The band makes a valiant effort to be as honest and true to themselves as possible, and it works. Produced by Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, My Morning Jacket, The Raconteurs) in conjunction with longtime friend and producer Dan Hannon and the band, Mean Everything To Nothing is one of those moments in a band's life that makes them proud whether the album sells or not. // 7

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overall: 8
Mean Everything To Nothing Reviewed by: fret13, on december 08, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I just recently heard some of Manchester Orchestra's work and I was impressed so I decided to buy this CD since it was on sale at my local Best Buy store. I pushed it into my car's radio and listened to the first song and was blown away with the mixture of anger and upbeat music. It was brilliant and catchy and I loved it. The whole album itself however has it's ups and downs and I realized that as soon as the second song. There are a handful of both great and no so great songs on this album. At some points in the CD Andy Hull's aggressive voice just gets annoying and out of place and sometimes he nails it but there are a lot of places on this CD where they just don't fit in. After listening to this CD for a while I decided to download some of their older works and that blew me away even more, so I'm going to take a guess and say that if you were a big fan of Manchester Orchestra before this CD you won't be completely disappointed but it doesn't really compare to their older work by a long shot. I think the high point of the album is the title track "Everything to Nothing" where everything just seems to fit into place perfectly for a good five and a half minutes. Some close seconds are "Only One" "I've Got Friends" and "Tony the Tiger". // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics are angry and sometimes harsh but fit with most of the music perfectly. When you listen to song, you're not listening to some thrown together song lyrics, you are listening to a sad story that has been well written and could probably be published. This is great because it breaks the mold that so many bands fall into about writing a verse then a chorus and not really keeping on one subject. Andy Hull has a lyrical gift and can write stories with it. The lyrics can be compared to those of "Bright Eyes" and "Death Cab For Cutie". // 10

Overall Impression: I think that this album was a good purchase, it has it's high points and it's low points but it can definately pull at your heartstrings and put your repeat option on from time to time. All in all, I'm glad that I bought it, I just wish that they would change a few things about some of the songs. Not a bad CD though. // 7

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