By Adam Yare
“I can’t wait for it to be out, we’ve been sitting on the record for a really long time and we’re just ready for people to hear it,” proclaims a very tired Chris Freeman, Keyboard player with Atlanta based group the Manchester Orchestra.
The bands third album, Simple Math, is out next month (9th May) and Freeman is eager for the record to be released after it was finished last summer.
The reception to the songs so far has been “really great and positive,” he says.
“Especially since we put out Simple Math and April Fool as the first singles – They are such different songs it was scary.”
Nearly 2 Years since the release of Sophomore album, Mean Everything to Nothing (2009) Chris is quietly confident with the way Simple Math has turned out.
“Stylistically the record is different as we have a new drummer (Tim Very), who gave us different avenues to explore that Jeremiah (Edmond) wasn’t really capable of. Jeremiah was harder hitting, and having Tim who can play lightly adds a new dynamic to the band.”
With Simple Math, the band has further developed their quintessential mixture of soft-loud guitar, and the evocative personal lyrics of front-man, and lyricist Andy Hull.
“We have definitely grown as musicians, and so it allowed us to get out the ideas we had. We’ve been looking towards a lot of Neil Young, and On the beach was a huge inspiration. Also Andy and Robert’s guitar work on this record is awesome.”
As with Mean Everything to Nothing, and Like a Virgin Losing a Child (2006), Hull took sole responsibility of the song-writing.
Touching upon his childhood upbringing as the son of a Pastor, he again focuses on his relationship with religion and spirituality.
“The things that Andy writes about lyrically are what anybody would write about, their own lives, God is part of our lives, we’ve grown up with religion and it’s difficult not to write about some of that,” explains Freeman. “If we were drug addicts we would write about that all the time.” He adds with a smile.
Though the new album covers familiar territory, Hull writes about his life experience of the past 2 years. A period of which Chris calls the ‘awkward age of growing up between 20 and 24′.
“(The album) is a reaction to my marital, physical, and mental failures,” says Hull on the bands website. “The songs on this record are stories, but more directed and personal. In many ways it can be called a duelling conversation between my wife, God, and myself.”
Finishing off a short tour of Britain with a sold-out gig at the Ruby Lounge, Chris says the band have strong ties with the city from whom they took their name.
“The fans in this city are amazing. We were really scared the first time we came here, as we obviously aren’t from Manchester and nor are we an orchestra. But then our first show was awesome and the fans here are the most rowdy, loud and intense.”
The tenth time the band have visited our shores, the keyboardist added that he feels American music currently has the creative edge over its British counterparts.
“As far as guitars go, I think America has a louder guitar tone, especially with England originally looking to America for the blues.”
However a bleary-eyed Chris is quick to add that the band is still influenced by English music, warping it in there own loud and abrasive American style.
“I think that is what is lacking sometimes in English music, but when you see a band like Muse or Biffy Clyro, when they play it’s like the loudest show ever, and that’s great.”
Despite his reservations about the hushed repose of our own talent, the keyboard player says he now feels at home over here, and is looking forward to touring the new album later this year.
He jokingly adds “I now know what streets not to go down and what restaurants to eat in.”
Well if you’re going to name yourself after a city, you should learn the intricacies of the local area after-all.