Manchester Orchestra: Colly Strings

Atlanta band Manchester Orchestra is perhaps one of my favourite indie rock bands out there.  My favourite song, to this day, remains I Can Barely Breathe from their 2006 album “I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child”.  You’ll have to look that one up to understand where I’m coming from, and you’ll maybe understand how I saw it as an excellent movie score track.  All that aside, the song I’m placing on this week’s soundtrack pedestal is Colly Strings.

In my opinion, describing Manchester Orchestra’s sound requires a bit of perusing through indie rock bands of a similar sound or type and tasting them — much like a wine connoisseur.  I’d liken the band’s sound to being on the mellower side of things, depending on the track (Alice & Interiors is an example of a song that isn’t so mellow), but overall their sound — to me — is pretty refined.  It’s got an air of elegance to it; maybe it’s a good mixture of plucking strings, softly strumming chords and the tempo established by their drummer.  Oh, and the unique tone to their vocalist’s voice.  It’s an honest sounding tone, and it would sound something like someone desperately pouring out their story in a confessional manner.  There’s desperation, but earnest truth, in the story that’s being told.

This particular song made this week’s soundtrack because of how it fit into one of my many subway rides.  There are a few lines that really struck me.  These are a few: “A pity invitation to an awkward house, for pseudo-boy who would rather wear a blouse; I sincerely saw your skin for the very first time.”  And then, near the end, “Well don’t stop calling, you’re the reason I love losing sleep.”

The scene doesn’t necessarily match the lyrics, but it has a lot to do with a train ride (it’s when I do my best scriptwriting): you’re walking into work wearing your professional gear — you know the drill; black upon black upon black and collared shirts with proper jewelry.  The workplace is filled with young professionals, all looking quite the same in their prettied up garb, crisp and clean and pristine.  Your hair covers your ears, your shirt is buttoned up to your collarbone, and you look into the mirror before starting another work day.  A memory of you, or someone that might have been you, flashes before your eyes.  The colourful shirts, the rubble-savaged sneakers, the tousled hair, the carefree smile and a handful of colourful earrings.  Return to the present.  You look into the mirror, tuck a tuft of hair behind your ear and smile.  There it is — in the mirror, above the pristine collar and the black suit, just subtly smiling at you…  Your earrings and piercings.  They can make you wear a mask, they can put you in costumes, and you can grow up.  But you hold onto that little bit of you to remind you of who you are.  Shine on.


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