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Right Away, Great Captain! - The Church of... Album Cover

Right Away, Great Captain! - The Church of...

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7.0
Right Away, Great Captain! - The Church of the Good Thief
Record Label: Favorite Gentlemen
Release Date: June 12, 2012
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Andy Hull has written some powerful material in less than a decade. His main project, Manchester Orchestra, has turned out three solid albums worth of emotional distraught, faith, love and hope. Alongside the rise of his main act, Hull has also churned out two albums under the moniker Right Away, Great Captain!, 2007's The Bitter End and 2008's The Eventually Home. Four years later, and we finally have a conclusive act in the trilogy of lost love, betrayal and death in The Church of the Good Thief. It's dark, distant and returns to the stripped down feel of isolation with one's thoughts that was found in Hull's debut act of the project.

As "Memories From the End Pt. 2" flushes out the full story, I can't help but shake the lack of return The Church of the Good Thief offers. The direction and orchestration we all heard on The Eventually Home is stripped almost too bare, and you're left as alone in a prison cell as the story's protagonist with just Hull, a guitar, piano, and sometimes both. "I Am Aware" anchors like a forgotten b-side and "I Wait For You," even with its mid-song elevation in orchestration, lacks the most return. "Memories From the End Pt.1" and "Pt. 2" just sort of end the album with no real shift in feel, just two dry melodies from the writer finishing up some final thoughts on his eminent death and last minute personal redemption and reflection.

The Church of the Good Thief
has its finer moments. "Blame" is a great opening, and the piano counterpoint to Hull's guitar is perfect. The build, tone of the guitar, vocals and the bitter drive of "Barely Bit Me" may be the album's best moment, perfectly placed before "Rotten Black Root" and its drudging sway of anger and unwanted acceptance in the narrator's thoughts against the rhythmic pattern it follows. It's those moments that I wish existed more in Hull's final act. It's as if he bumped up the production of The Bitter End, without losing its feel of isolation and desolation, but didn't carry over the musical movements and variations that made The Eventually Home one of the best albums of 2008, and in Hull's catalog as a songwriter.

While I'm probably one of the biggest fans of Hull's catalog thus far, including his work with Kevin Devine under the moniker Bad Books and The Dear Hunter's Red EP from last year's The Color Spectrum, The Church of the Good Thief just doesn't hit the mark this time. Every songwriter has a handful of songs or even an album or two that even their biggest fans won't revisit as much as the others in the grand discography. For now, it's this one. Hull said he wanted "to create an album to close out this trilogy that sounds and feels as solitary and static as the conflicted emotions that the character is experiencing." While he succeeded in capturing that flow and mindset throughout, that execution ended up being the most disappointing thing about the record as a whole.

Reminds Me OfMatt Pryor's Confidence Man; City and Colour's Sometimes; El Obo's Oxford Basement Collection
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20
01:59 AM on 06/26/12
#2
cmark88
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I didn't like this album as much as The Eventually Home at first, as I was expecting a part 2 of that amazing album, but the more I spin this record, the more I like it.... and going back to The Eventually Home feels a little weird--almost like that album is too loud, haha. I like both albums for what they are, and I know that I'll be coming back to this one At-LEAST as much as I go back to TEH. The mood is vastly different, and I urge anyone that is disappointed with the album to give it some more spins

This review captures my initial feeling of the album... and also how I initially felt about Bad-Books and Simple Math.... but I think I'm slowly learning to accept the fact that Andy's post Mean Everything to Nothing material will be a mix of the familar and growers for me.
05:27 AM on 06/26/12
#3
IndieKid!
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I agree with this review, I am hoping bad books 2 is better than this, it just didn't go anywhere... pretty dull.
07:21 AM on 06/26/12
#4
JoeLovesMO
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I didn't like this album as much as The Eventually Home at first, as I was expecting a part 2 of that amazing album, but the more I spin this record, the more I like it.... and going back to The Eventually Home feels a little weird--almost like that album is too loud, haha. I like both albums for what they are, and I know that I'll be coming back to this one At-LEAST as much as I go back to TEH. The mood is vastly different, and I urge anyone that is disappointed with the album to give it some more spins

This review captures my initial feeling of the album... and also how I initially felt about Bad-Books and Simple Math.... but I think I'm slowly learning to accept the fact that Andy's post Mean Everything to Nothing material will be a mix of the familar and growers for me.
This, pretty much.

Nothing since METN has had the instant effect that those albums had, but are more growers. It's kinda disappointing but at least I enjoy his stuff to some degree still.
07:25 AM on 06/26/12
#5
jdr277
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I didn't like this album as much as The Eventually Home at first, as I was expecting a part 2 of that amazing album, but the more I spin this record, the more I like it.... and going back to The Eventually Home feels a little weird--almost like that album is too loud, haha. I like both albums for what they are, and I know that I'll be coming back to this one At-LEAST as much as I go back to TEH. The mood is vastly different, and I urge anyone that is disappointed with the album to give it some more spins

This review captures my initial feeling of the album... and also how I initially felt about Bad-Books and Simple Math.... but I think I'm slowly learning to accept the fact that Andy's post Mean Everything to Nothing material will be a mix of the familar and growers for me.
I agree with both you and this review. I felt the same way after I first spun this album. The same moments were high points for me too (Blame, Rotten Black Root, Barely Bit Me). A lot of Hulls more recent work has taken time to sink in I love Simple Math and Bad Books a lot more now than when it first came out. However, I don't think even with time that this will top TEH for me. I need a little more Bite and this album barely bit me. It's a nice end to the trilogy and although I will visit it from time to time, I don't think it will be one of my favorite releases by Mr. Hull. Bring on Bad Books 2 and ManOrch V. 2.0
08:08 AM on 06/26/12
#6
Thursdaysox
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Listened to this and couldn't get into it; probably a decent album for a long drive home, though the xx already fill that gap pretty well.
10:47 AM on 06/26/12
#7
Vance Mook
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Still need to hear this. Simple Math was my AOTY, as much as RAGC might not pull me enough as Manchester does, I'm not sure how much Andy Hull can disappoint me.
12:17 PM on 06/26/12
#8
Grohl
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I never really latched onto Right Away. I enjoy some Manchester Orchestra, but they always seemed really overblown and overrated.
01:10 PM on 06/26/12
#9
jonwangcb
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Andy was going for a straight forward ending -- no twists and turns -- and he got what he was looking for. This album is stark, and feels desolate. That's the way it is supposed to feel, which I guess was touched upon in the review. The Eventually Home was a lyrical masterpiece, and I don't think this album is any worse in that regard. It just feels different, and there aren't as many of those super intense, tension building moments that defined the previous two albums. With that said, this album still does have a few of those moments; in particular, the last lines of Barely Bit Me (maybe the best he's ever written), the explosions in Rotten Black Root, and Jesse Coppenbarger screaming (I think it's Jesse, can't really tell. Might be Andy. Actually sounds a little like Jesse Lacey to me, although I know it isn't) in We Were Made Out of Lightning.

I think this album lost itself with the last two tracks. Part I is, in my opinion, one of the weaker songs he's ever put on an album, and it was placed in a spot where it could have, and maybe should have been a very special song. I actually enjoy Part II, but maybe just not juxtaposed to Part I.

With all that said, I still love this album. Probably an 85% for me.
01:15 PM on 06/26/12
jonwangcb
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I never really latched onto Right Away. I enjoy some Manchester Orchestra, but they always seemed really overblown and overrated.
RAGC is all about the lyrics...MO too, but to a lesser extent. From your username, it's seems apparent that lyrics aren't the #1 aspect of songwriting for you (implying Dave Grohl is a bad lyricist, no offense). If I may suggest, listen to Memories From A Shore or Right Away Young Sailor to pique your interest, and then listen to Not Ready to Forgive You or Down to Your Soul to hook you.
02:07 PM on 06/26/12
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Andy was going for a straight forward ending -- no twists and turns -- and he got what he was looking for. This album is stark, and feels desolate. That's the way it is supposed to feel, which I guess was touched upon in the review. The Eventually Home was a lyrical masterpiece, and I don't think this album is any worse in that regard. It just feels different, and there aren't as many of those super intense, tension building moments that defined the previous two albums. With that said, this album still does have a few of those moments; in particular, the last lines of Barely Bit Me (maybe the best he's ever written), the explosions in Rotten Black Root, and Jesse Coppenbarger screaming (I think it's Jesse, can't really tell. Might be Andy. Actually sounds a little like Jesse Lacey to me, although I know it isn't) in We Were Made Out of Lightning.

I think this album lost itself with the last two tracks. Part I is, in my opinion, one of the weaker songs he's ever put on an album, and it was placed in a spot where it could have, and maybe should have been a very special song. I actually enjoy Part II, but maybe just not juxtaposed to Part I.

With all that said, I still love this album. Probably an 85% for me.
agree. lyrically it didn't lack, but it didn't pull me in. the best tracks I mentioned are some of Andy's strongest work for sure, I just wished the whole album flushed out that way.

To me, the best track of the trilogy was "I Am a Vampire" - that song still gives me goosebumps.
03:33 PM on 06/26/12
bananabread
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huh maybe i need to check out his other albums. Cuz i love the shit out of this one. It also really reminds me of jason molina's solo album(s?) really sparce and alone.
04:13 PM on 06/26/12
jonwangcb
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agree. lyrically it didn't lack, but it didn't pull me in. the best tracks I mentioned are some of Andy's strongest work for sure, I just wished the whole album flushed out that way.

To me, the best track of the trilogy was "I Am a Vampire" - that song still gives me goosebumps.
I love Andy's quote about that song. Something like "The day we created that song, the skies turned black."

I'm partial to Like Lions Do and Cutting Off the Blood to Ten.
07:57 PM on 06/26/12
loudasallgetout
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This album is incredibly beautiful. Much much higher than a 70% for me.
08:09 PM on 06/26/12
Grohl
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RAGC is all about the lyrics...MO too, but to a lesser extent. From your username, it's seems apparent that lyrics aren't the #1 aspect of songwriting for you (implying Dave Grohl is a bad lyricist, no offense). If I may suggest, listen to Memories From A Shore or Right Away Young Sailor to pique your interest, and then listen to Not Ready to Forgive You or Down to Your Soul to hook you.

CLEARLY the only reason I could not enjoy something as much as you do is due to my faulty taste and expectations in songwriting or I "don't get it." I made this account four or five years ago, Dave Grohl is irrelevant to my thoughts on Andy Hull.

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