Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull has always seemed old beyond his years. Casual fans of the band will probably be surprised to hear he’s only thirty years old when considered his wizened penchant for leading an expansive charge from amidst an undertowing pull of darkness and uneasiness. His songwriting is architectural, plotting blueprints before laying the foundations and building his works up to skyscraping heights. With A Black Mile to the Surface, the marriage of his vocals with a claustrophobic brand of grunge and an overly epic annoyance of Americana makes for a cinematic grandeur that matches his band’s ambition, but although it’s impressive in its execution it’s not a sound that will have you looking for the repeat button. For a band where constructing songs into rocket-fueled crescendos is their biggest strength, too often does A Black Mile to the Surface fail to take advantage of any momentum it builds, often taking the wrong fork on an ascent to a splendid finale.
FIRST PUBLISHED ON NO RIPCORD