Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra offers a unique, post-emo sound incorporating warbling synths, Southern-rock vocal harmonies and the indie-rock sounds of the 1990s. The band's weirdly funky guitar riffs and thunderous drums can bring to mind that era's grunge heroes, while singer-songwriter Andy Hull's lyrics and vocal styles seem reminiscent of Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock.
Begun by Hull as a solo project while he was still in high school, Manchester Orchestra has gradually evolved into its current five-member incarnation, which includes guitarist Robert McDowell, keyboardist Christopher Freeman, Jonathan Corley on bass and Jeremiah Edmond on drums.
In addition to numerous EPs, beginning with 2004's 5 Stories, Manchester Orchestra has released two full-length albums: 2006's I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child, and last year's Mean Everything to Nothing, which veers from anthemic ("Shake It Out") to hard-rockin' ("Pride") to contemplative ("I Can Feel a Hot One"). All of the band's music has been released on Favorite Gentleman Recordings, founded by Hull and Edmond; Mean Everything is the first joint venture with the Canvasback label.
Recent shows have featured mostly Mean Everything songs; as McDowell told U.K.-based blog Organised Sound (organised-sound.com), "We kind of knew how we'd be playing those songs live a little better because we toured on Virgin for like 400 shows. The songs got faster and heavier and more dynamic. So, we were able to envision them more; 'Here's the song and here's how we're going to be playing it live, so let's make it sound more live on the record."
Manchester Orchestra with The Features, Biffy Clyro and O'Brother. 7 p.m. Thu., March 25. Mr. Small's Theatre, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $14. All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com