Music video: Simple Math by Manchester Orchestra
Manchester Orchestra, it may surprise you to know, aren’t from Manchester. Not the Manchester in Lancashire in England, nor the myriad Manchesters dotted around the United States. Nor are they an orchestra.
Led by hirsute lead singer Andy Hull, they’re an alternative rock band hailing from Atalanta, Georgia. Often based on ebbs and flows, build-ups and climaxes, their music is the audio equivalent of a boxing match; it dances around, landing a few stray blows, before ramping it up in the final rounds, usually resulting in a thumping moment of connection which will stun you, at the very least. Simple Math, the group’s third and most recent studio album, is filled with such moments, and you can hear the joy with which Hull’s vocals and his band’s substantial instrumental decibels embrace these final pugnacious throes in their finest tracks.
‘Simple Math’ the song certainly fits these criteria, it’s climactic final bars sharing genes with Queens of the Stone Age or Arcade Fire: not musical similarities, you understand, but the fact that the louder it’s played, the better it becomes.
Its video, directed by DANIELS – an LA directorial duo comprised of Daniels Schienart and Kwan – is among the finest we’ll see this year. Hull himself, driving his pickup down a sun-dappled, empty country road, closes his eyes at the wheel and veers to avoid the deer he believes he has seen. The car flips, rolling in slow motion as the un-seatbelted Hull is thrown around in the mayhem. Flashing back to his youth via a series of amazing cuts, we see his memories play out, impacted by the fractured gravity his current environment is creating. There’s more than just visual brilliance here, however, there’s subtext; in a five-minute music video we gain an insight into our protagonist’s subconscious, from the memories of the girl he used to fancy to a hugely significant hunting trip with his dad.
DANIELS haven’t just made a brilliant music video, they’ve made an impressive short film, and when paired with Manchester Orchestra’s raw, cacophonous punch, it makes for an intriguing, intelligent, incredible accompaniment.
Luke Grundy is a fervent assimilator of media living amid the bright lights of London, England. If he’s not watching films or listening to music, he’s probably asleep, eating or dead. An aspiring writer, journalist and musician, he is the creator of movie/music blog Odessa & Tucson and lives for epistemology.