American indie-rock outfit Manchester Orchestra have released a mesmerising new single Bed Head, cut from their upcoming album The Million Masks Of God.
Getting better with age is a rare feat, even for the best of bands. The Strokes have been chasing their masterful 2001 debut ever since, and don’t even get us started on Weezer. However, veteran indie-rockers Manchester Orchestra are that rare band that seems to go from strength-to-strength with every release.
Unsurprisingly, Bed Head, their first new release in four years, is brimming with cathartic excellence.
While we anxiously await their sixth album, The Million Masks Of God, let’s examine the album’s single. Recording alongside longtime collaborator Catherine Marks and artist/producer Ethan Gruska (Phoebe Bridgers, Fiona Apple) has culminated into a powerful sound with a heavy narrative for the band on Bed Head.
Writer Andy Hull realised his abstract penmanship on the human condition came from an authentic place, concerning Robert McDowell (lead guitar). Robert’s father had recently passed after an ongoing battle with cancer, and Bed Head served as the cathartic release. “There’s an expiration date to all of this – and how you’re going to live your life knowing that,” Hull commented.
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The track begins with a glitchy and distorted electronic drum loop, then evolves in a soundscape of rich tones. Gorgeous backing vocals, single piano notes, high gain electric. It’s one of Hull’s best vocal deliveries to date, showcasing the height of his range spectacularly.
He’s got some captivating lyrics to match too. The chorus brings shudders as Hull grapples with the radical change, “Let me relinquish and start to distinguish my past, and my time. You and I are oil and fire.”
Another line in the first verse – “I’m not alone, but it sure feels like someone left,” parallels the music video’s haunting visual storytelling. The video focuses on a little girl who entertains herself and finds company with the supernatural in a house of flickering lights. The band sing from photographs, and the whole visual experience feels uneasy.
In the cataclysmic, goosebump-ridden outro, we realise that the girl is holding onto a father that’s no longer around. Her mother rushes them out of the memory-filled house to make haste and start anew—a brutal subject matter for a band that’s more than prepared to tackle it.
Pre-order the upcoming album The Million Masks Of God here.