Manchester Orchestra’s A Black Mile to the Surface is one of my favorite albums of 2017. It’s a concept record about an uncanny town in South Dakota that can’t stand the weight of its own fiction, eventually collapsing into frontman Andy Hull’s mind and memory. Back in August, I wrote that it was “the most lyrically intricate and sonically ambitious record that the band have made.” I was right! Its harmonies are rich, its stories are compelling, its humor is bleak but still present. Manchester Orchestra are one of America’s most underrated rock bands.
“The Gold” is the second track on the album, a snap to attention after “The Maze” drifts out of its self-doubt. They released an acoustic version of the song yesterday, it’s perfectly melancholic, and you can listen to it at the top of the page. Hull’s voice is delicate in the verses, dangerously fragile in the falsetto choruses, backed by three gentle guitars. This is gloomy, introspective winter music, written with snow-caked roads and low-lit peril in mind. There’s no better time to listen to it.
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