With a personnel list of well over 30 players, it’s no surprise to hear that Manchester Orchestra’s latest is a tad ostentatious. Yet, among all the bombastic string arrangements and arena-rock gestures, Simple Math manages to come out on top. Here, frontman Andy Hull is at his strongest, waxing poetic about everything from self-worth (“Deer”) to spiritual struggle (“Simple Math”) with the kind of abandon of a man who really means what he preaches. Sonically, Math jumps between Cursive-esque rock operas and Hold Steady-ish bar anthems, sprinkled with something that reminds us of a less-contrived Mumford & Sons. The result is a record that’s equal parts jarring and precocious, and a magnum opus for some of alt-rock’s biggest unsung heroes. Manchester Orchestra plays the S.B. Bowl on Friday, June 3, as part of KJEE’s Summer Round-Up. Visit sbbowl.com


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