Excavating the pressures of fatherhood and the anxieties of legacy on 2017’s ‘A Black Mile to the Surface’, Manchester Orchestra continue to delve deeper on new album ‘The Million Masks of God’ as they explore the barrier between the end of a life and whatever’s beyond. Less lyrically abstract than ‘A Black Mile’'s story, the subject matter is still strongly conceptual, tackling very real grief and loss experienced by the band during recording.
Songwriters Andy Hull and Robert McDowell continue to expand the edges of their sonic palette, toying with folk guitar trills and processed drums around the edges of their increasingly proggy rock. ‘Keel Timing’ borrows the off-kilter indie harmony of their Bad Books side-project, ‘Dinosaur’ broods before exploding into cacophony, and album highlight ‘Obstacle’s innocent, nursery rhyme melody wanders hospital corridors, birth and death lurking behind different doors.
More mellow and less urgent than the band who released the full-on guitar onslaught of ‘Cope’ in 2014, across their past two records Manchester Orchestra have carved their own niche in the alt-rock landscape.