‘The Way’ by Manchester Orchestra – Single Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆
Generally, it’s been a relatively slow journey towards the upper echelons of the alternative mainstream for Manchester Orchestra. The Atlanta four piece first formed in 2004, so it’s about time they got some proper recognition for their art, particularly in the UK.
‘The Way’ is the lead single off the band’s seventh studio album ‘The Valley of Vision’. It is out in its entirety on March 17th. It’s Manchester Orchestra’s first new LP since 2021’s ‘The Million Masks of God’. The release is also accompanied by 180-degree virtual reality film, directed by Issac Deitz who describes the project as ‘like a dream in your head’.
Future Of Music Releases?
Is this VR addition the future of music releases or just a short term marketing gimmick? Either way, it’s a pretty interesting step forward.
‘The Way’ starts off with lo-fi electronic beats and a very catchy piano line. You will very likely get later Coldplay vibes along with a hint of alt-j. Andy Hall’s lead vocals are soft, hushed, melodic and also very original. It’s really hard to place his vocal style, the nearest description being David Gray-esque. All in all, ‘The Way’ would be a perfect track on a teenage vampire movie soundtrack or an episode of the O.C.
Manchester Orchestra took a modern-day approach into creating their latest project. Also, it was pretty much all recorded separately. Hall describes the approach – ‘None of these songs were written with the band being in the same room in a live setting. They were really like science experiments that started from the bottom and were gradually added to over time’.
As mentioned, Manchester Orchestra are starting to get more well-known this side of the pond and they play two sold out acoustic shows at London’s Union Chapel in May. Based on this latest release, they will no doubt be playing larger venues in the UK very soon.
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