CD Review of Im Like a Virgin Losing a Child by Manchester Orchestra
Recommended if you like
Death Cab For Cutie, Dinosaur Jr., Bright Eyes
Label
Canvasback Records
Manchester Orchestra:
I’m Like a Virgin
Losing a Child

Reviewed by Red Rocker

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S
inger, songwriter, guitarist, and Manchester Orchestra brainchild Andy Hull said in a recent interview, “The concept of the record is sort of my loss, my realization that I don’t have control over anything.” So here’s another 19-year old who doesn’t have the answers to all life’s questions handy. “If you knew I was dying, would it change you?” Hull quips on the fret-heavy squealer “I Can Barely Breathe,” just one of numerous lessons in the type of “if you hate me, I’ll hate you back” carnage that embodies I’m Like a Virgin. One year removed from high school and lunch periods and driver’s ed, Hull can tell us all about love, loss, taxes, and mortgage payments? Just ask him. What’s more depressing is that a certain percentage of the music-buying public is honestly paying $15 for plastic discs in hopes of finding answers to just such pressing questions. This is equally astounding and pathetic at the same time.

Hull is a shoegazer, pure and simple. He’s written a debut album full of self-loathing, pain-rich, alter-ego “look at me, world, I’m grieving” pseudo-problems that most people couldn’t and wouldn’t want to relate to even if their own kid were the one doing the grieving. This stuff’s been done before, too, most recently by the more accomplished likes of Death Cab For Cutie and Conor Oberst, to name just a couple. This stuff is depressing, slow, lethargic, and, by all means, uninteresting. It sure doesn’t rock. It doesn’t provoke or stimulate or remotely engage the listener. It’s just the bitter, confused ramblings of misguided and pissed-off kids – the kind I hope are never alone in a dark parking lot with my daughters.

Songs such as “Where Have You Been?” and the noose-tightening “I Can Feel Your Pain” make me wonder what part of Atlanta these kids are hanging out in to not be able to find something to be happy about. I, for one, have always found their adopted hometown to be rowdy and full of young life. Not so to hear it through Hull’s tales of pain, stress, unknowing, and wrecked hopes, however. And what’s with that album title? Man, I can’t even continue this review without wanting to medicate myself to the point of not waking up tomorrow. Whew. Life must really be tough, fellas, at the ripe old age of 19. Even Morrissey owned a Def Leppard album or two, didn’t he?

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