Coming on the heels of their fourth studio album, 2014's Cope, the Atlanta, Georgia-based outfit Manchester Orchestra deliver Hope. A companion album to Cope, Hope features stripped-down, largely acoustic reworkings of the songs from Cope. Included here are such songs as "Top Notch," "Girl Harbor," and "Every Stone." Primarily known for their deeply intense, cathartic, indie rock sound, Manchester Orchestra wanted to offer a more intimate and emotionally resonant experience to Manchester Orchestra's fans. While there are electric flourishes throughout Hope, most of the tracks here showcase lead singer/guitarist Andy Hull's yearning vocals framed in warm acoustic guitar, piano, and percussion. Ironically, Manchester Orchestra intended Cope as an even more intense, grayscale return to their early punk rock-influenced sound. Consequently, Hope works in perfect counterpoint to its darker, harsher predecessor. And certainly, while Hull has a knack for crafting blistering emo-epics, at the core of many of his songs there is a melodic lyricism and tender emotionality that lends itself to just the kind of delicate treatment achieved on Hope. Ultimately, if Cope displayed the group's hard-won maturity as a journeyman rock band, then Hope reveals the depths of that maturity.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar