Even after four albums, each drastically different from the others, Manchester Orchestra is a band headed in the right direction. The Atlanta band's 2006 debut, I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child, balanced anthemic jaunts "Wolves at Night" and "Now That You're Home" with the heartbreakingly reflective "Where Have You Been?" and "Don't Let Them See You Cry." On 2009's Mean Everything to Nothing, the band again offset soft ("I Can Feel a Hot One," about quietly grieving over the end of a relationship) with hard ("Pride," in which a jilted lover seeks revenge). With the release of 2011's radio-friendly Simple Math, the subdued, introspective moments began to make way for more straightforward rockers. And the just-released Cope shows Manchester Orchestra coming into its own as a bona fide rock band. The title track captures the same fury heard in "Pride," and the earworms "The Ocean" and "All That I Really Wanted" are chock-full of memorable riffs and hooky lyrics. It all adds up to a trajectory that sees Manchester Orchestra headed straight for the arena circuit.
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