Andy Hull does the nautical gnashConcept albums are tricky beasts.
While centering an entire work on one subject might result in a timeless masterpiece like Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
, the project could also potentially slide into Chris Gaines-ville with just a few wrong turns of the rudder.
Although Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull's conceptual solo outings—under
the name Right Away, Great Captain!—may not be as world-shattering as Aeroplane,
his chronologically-arranged tale of a cuckolded 17th-century sailor
who slowly goes insane is compelling in a wretched, rubbernecking sort
of way. The Eventually Home, the second album in a planned trilogy, veers away from the low-fi production of 2006's The Bitter End (to be fair, Hull sequestered himself in a hundred-year-old log cabin to record the former album).
The unnamed sailor at the center of the drama—as voiced by Hull—seems
to have much in common with the Conor Oberst who emo-screamed his
wounded guts out on Fevers and Mirrors, inasmuch as both are
preoccupied with imperfect women, fractured families, shattered
illusions, and the steps one takes to rectify (or avenge) a devastating
The rage bleeds through in the growling cadences of the
agonizingly slow "I Am A Vampire" and "Father Brian Finn," but Hull's
estimable fingerpicked-guitar work rings like golden bells throughout The Eventually Home. The sparkling self-harmonies charm, even as the lyrics detail murderous plans and "realizing your bride's a whore."
Whether Right Away, Great Captain!'s protagonist treads his way out of
the saltwater eddy of doubt or drowns in his own despair remains to be
seen. Meanwhile, listeners should have at least a few months to mull
over their own interpretations of his unenviable dilemma before Hull
records and releases the final chapter in the seafarer's saga.
Listen to Right Away, Great Captain! on the band's MySpace page.