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Cope [LP]

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Vinyl, April 1, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Vinyl LP pressing. 2014 album from Manchester Orchestra. 'Cope, to me, means getting by. It means letting go, and being OK with being OK,' says Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull. The Atlanta band found itself at a crossroads as they approached making their fourth studio album - in between labels, uncertain of Manchester Orchestra's future for the first time since Hull started the band almost a decade ago. He was barely finished with high school back then, and now Hull and his bandmates were transitioning into the adulthoood. They'd learned a bit about letting go themselves. So Manchester Orchestra regrouped. They built a studio with their own hands, and spent month after month workshopping new tunes, writing and demoing together in a room - a process that was completely new for them. The change did them good.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (April 1, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Loma Vista
  • ASIN: B00I4582PI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,474 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
Ignore the first review and rating of 3 stars. This album is exactly what Andy said it would be: "What was missing in rock today." Each new Manchester Orchestra album has been different from the last, but still vintage MO. The same applies here. The best way to cope with the differences on this album is by intelligently listening to Cope...over and over and over again.
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Not nearly as 'bludgeony' as the band nor critics make it out to be. Plenty of nuance -- compare title track and resident animal "Cope" to the gentle surge of "Every Stone" -- and not a weak song in the bunch. I am always apprehensive about deluxe editions with extra songs, but the extra buck or so was worth it in this instance, as the b-side is excellent (one of my faves of the album, really) and "After the Scripture" really rounds out the experience well.
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Format: Audio CD
I've read a few reviews of Cope. I disagree that it sounds like Nirvana or Nickleback. I agree that I'm not as committed to it as I am Mean Everything to Nothing and Simple Math. I think I like most of it more than Like a Virgin Losing a Child. And I'm still waiting on my deluxe LP version. Now that all that is out of the way.

I have listened to this album nonstop for an entire month. It is heavy for MO, but not as heavy or noisey as I expected. The lyrics of Top Notch are the album's best, most digging, most important. I have differentiated by now the songs on the album, but I agree the first listen I couldn't really find those differences. The album is short, noticeably short, and it's hard to find the reason why the band didn't include After the Scripture. I love Cope, I love Top Notch, I love Trees, and See It Again. I want to hear those songs live because that is what this album will be best known for as part of MO's modicum.

This is the band how they are live. They play loud. They rock out. I appreciate their willingness to push themselves this way, but I can't say this is even close to the quality in my mind of METN or SM. Those albums are perfect; the stories and world they create, the truths they show. I can rock out to this. It'll be great fun at a show. But when the bonus track is the only track on an album that rips my heart out, that's a pretty alarming realization.

I'm not sad about this. I'm not disappointed. I'm hopeful for what's next. I think I even saw an interview where Andy said he was already looking forward to what's next. This album feels fast-forwarded. I think the songs could've been given more room to breathe; the one song with a bridge, "See It Again," is one of its most emotional. And that's what we love about MO.
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I must first say I'm a big MO fan, and this album isn't as bad as some are making out, but I did find it rather disappointing.

Previous albums, including those released under Bad Books and RAGC, are more vocal driven with plenty of fantastic guitars to back them up or lead them on and make it something special. This, on the other hand, is a heavy guitar driven affair with some good vocals and lyrics lurking in the background. In many cases the lyrics can be hard to discern and make out due to the almost wall-of-sound approach. Others have complained about the weak lyrics but I don't really find that to be the case...they're just harder to get to and less important to the intent/design of the songs.

As I noted in the title, its not a bad album, but it is disappointing from MO. Some catchy tracks... Top Notch springs to mind.
I guess there are flavors in here of Nirvana meets Nickelback, with Andy Hull's unique tones often struggling to be heard. Perhaps better described as an album full of 'Pride' or 'In My Teeth' type tracks with the guitar taking center stage over the vocals. Not sure if it was a conscious mixing decision, a change of direction in an attempt to catch a different market, or perhaps just an evolution in their sound which - quite frankly - I hope they back away from going forward.

Enjoy it for what it is, but I personally hope they make a return to form sooner rather than later.
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Having given this album the proper amount of time to sink in, Cope is not their best effort (I give that title to Simple Math), but I don't think it's fair that this album is catching as much flack as it has been, either. Each album Manchester Orchestra has put out so far had been something of a departure from the music that came before it, and this is no different. Perhaps, after the unique blend of strings, meaningful lyrics, variety, and musicianship of Simple Math, Cope just feels less "special."

Though I initially felt disappointed on my first time through, it quickly grew on me. Top Notch is a great way to start off the album, as well as set some expectations about what to expect from the rest of the album. The next few tracks keep up the pace while toning down some of the heavier elements. Songs like "Choose You" and "Girl Harbor" feature the witty, sometimes whimsical lyrics Andy is known for.

Though a few of the songs in the middle of the album may sound similar the first times through, they are all quite enjoyable and listenable, if not incredibly memorable.

The album closes off (again) on a heavier note, where the writing and guitars (as well as Andy's voice) shine. Songs like "Cope" remind me why I became a fan of MO in the first place, but the real star of the album may be "See It Again." This song starts off with low growling guitars and Andy singing low, before exploding on the chorus, before slowing pace and delivering the last few lines of what seems to describe a heartbreak.

One issue I've seen longtime fans complain about is that the lyrics seem weak. In some respects, I'll agree, as quite a few of the choruses feature nothing more than the song title repeated.
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