I’m surprised I haven’t written about Manchester Orchestra on the site yet; their debut full-length, Like A Virgin Losing A Child, has been played over and over on my iPod. Fortunately, yesterday’s release of their EP/DVD, Let My Pride Be What’s Left Behind, gives me an opportunity to do so! The EP contains five tracks, two of which are brand new songs. Yeah, you could complain that there aren’t more, but the band’s already slated to come out with another full-length, Mean Everything to Nothing, earlier next year (plus, frontman Andy Hull has released plenty of material under his own name and the alias Right Away, Great Captain!).
The two new songs are just enough to tide fans over until their next release in 2009. These tracks aren’t anything like “Wolves at Night,” the rock’n’roll jump-start to their last album, or “I Can Barely Breathe,” that same album’s dark, heavy single. Instead, I would characterize both “I Can Feel A Hot One” and “I Was A Lid” as gradual build-up’s that follow the band’s often-used minimalist approach. After re-reading that last sentence, I realized that I couldn’t possibly have given these two songs a more boring description. But hear me out: perhaps the greatest aspect of Manchester Orchestra’s music is Andy Hull’s unique, irresistible voice and his impeccable song writing skills. So in a sense, you can consider Pride‘s two opening tracks as a showcase of this — they just happen to be backed by music that is by no means bad…it just doesn’t really build up to anything. Trust me, they’re good.
The remaining three tracks you’ve heard before…kind of. The third track is a live reworking of “Wolves At Night” performed for WBRU FM up in Providence, RI. It is completely different from the original version, instead taking a soft, darker approach to nearly the entire song (except for the somewhat light-hearted bridge in which the organ track from the original version really stands out). It’s worth listening to just because of the complete change in the song’s mood and the lyrical variations Hull throws in there.
The same can be said for the live version of “Sleeper 1972,” perhaps one of the most memorable tracks off of their debut album. This song epitomizes the minimalist approach of Manchester Orchestra, sporting only Hull’s trademark voice and an ominous organ line. The live version replaces the organ with a quiet, acoustic guitar riff. But the best parts of the track are when Hull really lets his voice go, adding to what can already be considered the intense emotionality of the song.
Finally, you’ve got the song “Badges and Badges,” which was already released earlier this year on Daytrotter as one of Andy Hull’s sessions with them. Follow the link to check it out — again, it’s a great display of his talents as a songwriter.
Make sure to pick up Pride, especially for the DVD that comes with it. The band’s periodically released webisodes of their adventures in the studio and on the road which are pretty well done, so I’m assuming that the DVD will only be a better version of those.