To say that Manchester Orchestra are masters of songcraft would not be a far-fetched proclamation. After two critically acclaimed albums, the band has perfected a sound that adeptly marries gut-wrenching lyrics with bone-chilling instrumention. With their latest offering Simple Math, Manchester Orchestra pulls out all the stops by utilizing everything at their disposal, including choirs, group vocals and some of frontman Andy Hull's darkest lyrics to date. In our latest edition of "Artist Insight", we at Review Rinse Repeat are honored to unveil the band's idea behind Simple Math as an album, as well as the message behind one of its haunting cuts, "Virgin."
ON SIMPLE MATH:
“I felt like we had already done the: ‘surprise people by the way that it sounds’ and so I realized that was kind of the only way we were gonna be able to do that was just by writing the biggest thing we could write. And not in like hits or whatever but just basically coming up with 10 songs that were just excellent and that, for us, was like okay what have we never done before? We’ve never used a kids choir and been really creepy or we’ve never had a 12 piece orchestra on stuff that makes it sound like it’s the end of the world. And I never played a baritone as my guitar on tracks and just having like this heavy and muddy thing and so it was just wanting to make everything stand alone and so the way we were able to do it was by having 10 tunes that I believe in all of them.”
“Virgin is a 3 part parallel story of our first record: ‘I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child’, the first time I had sex, and the day I got married. Those 3 things are almost like I found ways to talk about all of it with the same thing so talking to our fans, saying we built this house with our hands and our time and our blood about our band and saying but it’s never going to be the same. The beginning says:
‘Heard don't move
Lest you know someone you can move’
And that’s like kind of saying don’t ever do anything unless people are gonna be moved by it. Don’t ever do anything just for nothing.
And then the lyrics kind of rotate so it says:
‘We built this house with our hands, and our time, and our blood
You build this up in one day to fall downward and rust
You built this house with your hands, and your time, and your blood’
And that’s referring to the fans, saying you did this and we built this up in one day to fall downward and rust. We can just do something that will ruin it all. And that’s the same way with sex, and that’s the same way with marriage. It really all kind of continually talks about each other without really referring to anything at once."
- Andy Hull