Searching for the sonic direction of what would become their fourth full-length album, the hard-hitting COPE, earlier this year; Manchester Orchestra discovered something pretty amazing. The unapologetically heavy anthems seemed to work just as well (or even better) when stripped to their essence. "We were noticing that all the beautiful, slow stuff was working with all the really loud and fast stuff,” said lead vocalist, Andy Hull. "The seed was planted to go back and create a full circle of an album.”
So when Hull went into SiriusXM’s Alt-Nation studios and recorded a stripped-down version of "Top Notch” on the eve of releasing COPE this past April, it was with a measured degree of intent. The quiet presentation and simple arrangement forced the song’s warm lyric and beautiful melody to the fore, which actually made the track itself sound bigger. The fan reaction to the new version of "Top Notch” was powerful and instant (as was the great support from SiriusXM), further reinforcing the band’s desire to reshape these songs in a new and different way. Over the summer of 2014, in the same studio where they originally forged COPE; the band re-imagined the songs with a renewed sense of purpose and fresh perspective. Using Fender Rhodes, piano, vocal re-arrangements and strings, Manchester Orchestra, with an assist from illustrious sound mixer Phil Ek (Built To Spill, Beach House, Fleet Foxes), transformed COPE’s eleven tracks into something completely new and mesmerizing: HOPE.
Manchester Orchestra is Andy Hull (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Robert McDowell (Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals), Chris Freeman (Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals), Tim Very (Drums, Percussion), and Andy Prince (Bass).